Iraqi Kurd leader: Palestinians welcome to live in Kurdistan

Hilmi al-Asmar writes for the Jordanian newspaper Al-Dustur, April 7:

Barzani accuses extremist Shi’i, Sunni forces of fuelling the conflict, welcomes hosting Palestinians residing in Kurdistan
Arbil, Iraqi Kurdistan — Mas’ud Barzani, head of the Iraqi Kurdistan region and leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, welcomed hosting the Palestinian refugees residing in Iraqi Kurdistan and offered them a safe haven in the region that is more than a self rule region and less than a state.

Barzani said during a meeting with a Jordanian delegation comprising deputies, journalists, and activists from Jordanian civil society institutions and parties that the Palestinians are in their homeland in Iraqi Kurdistan and not as guests. He added: If 22 Arab states have closed the doors in the face of the Palestinians who are residing in Iraq, the doors of Kurdistan will be open to them. He added that there are 18,000 Arab families that live in security among the Kurdish families in the Kurdistan region, explaining that he will discuss this issue with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. Barzani said he is ready to send Kurdish troops to Baghdad and other Iraqi areas where the Palestinians reside to protect them, noting that the areas where Palestinians live and where there are Iraqi Kurdish troops are secure and protected by these forces. Barzani, however, said that a Palestinian delegation visited the region some time ago and explicitly asked not to resettle the Palestinians in the Kurdistan region. Barzani added: If the Palestinians residing in Iraqi are reassembled in one area, then the Iraqi Kurdish forces are ready to protect them, expressing anger and strong denunciation of the attacks against the Palestinian brothers.

Translation from Arabic by BBC Monitoring service.

Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouthi says Israel should let the refugees come to the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

See our last post on the plight of Palestinians in Iraq and in the diaspora generally. See our last posts on Iraq and the struggle in Kurdistan.

  1. Palestinians fleeing Iraq to resettle in Canada – ex-minister
    Al-Adwan Reveals Scheme To Deport Palestinian Refugees at Jordan Borders to Canada

    GAZA, 8 Apr (PIC) – MP Dr Atef Odwan, the former PNA minister of refugees’ affairs, on Sunday revealed that the Palestinian refugees fleeing persecution in Iraq and stranded at the Jordan borders would be deported to Canada.

    Odwan, a member of the Hamas-affiliated change and reform bloc in the PLC, warned that the plan revealed by the UNHCR reflected an American-Israeli scheme to wipe out the question of Palestinian refugees. He said in a press release that UNHCR might take up to 3,000 Palestinian refugees from Iraq to resettle in Canada.

    The MP charged the USA and Israel with trying to end once and for all the question of Palestinian refugee through different means, affirming that the recent UNHCR revelation indicated that the scheme was in full swing. Odwan asked the Arab and Muslim countries to provide a dignified life for the Palestinians and to enable them to live in the Arab world until they return to their homeland in Palestine.

    The UNHCR on Saturday said that the USA offered to host around 7,000 Palestinian refugees from Iraq.

    The Palestinian refugees in Iraq asked for serious Arab endeavour to end their ordeal in that American occupied Arab country. They have been the target of systematic persecution at the hands of Iraqi armed militias ever since the USA occupied that Arab country.

    (from the pro-Hamas Palestine Information Center)

    1. US consul denies refugee absorbtion plan
      Palestinian Ma’an News Agency, April 8:

      US Consulate Denies the USA Plans To Absorb Thousands of Palestinian Refugees From Iraq

      Bethlehem: The US consulate in Jerusalem denied on Sunday the media reports which claimed that the United States is willing to receive between 3,000 and 7,000 Palestinian refugees who live in Iraq.

      In a message to Ma’an, the consulate said, “The news is incorrect.” The statement added that, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), 7,000 Iraqis who currently reside in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon, will be absorbed in the USA in 2007.