Friday, March 16, 2007

Palestinian Refugees of Iraq

by Rafeef Ziadah

March 10, 2007

On the border between Iraq/Jordan and Iraq/Syria today live hundreds of Palestinian families who fled the US war to find themselvesstranded in no-mans land. These families live in tents, in squalor,with little certainty or hope for the future, like their parents andgrandparents did after their expulsion from their own homeland in the1948 Nakba (catastrophe) by the Israelis. The Al-Hol, Al-Tanaf,Al-Ruweished and Al-Walid refugee camps in the Iraqi desert areexamples of the on-going Nakba that Palestinian refugees face. Thefate of the 34,000 Palestinian refugees who once lived in Iraq can beadded to the many tragic stories of the US invasion and occupation ofthat country.

There are Palestinian refugees all over the world, and every one ofthem is being denied their right to return to their homes and villagesfrom which they were expelled. This is a right that cannot becancelled and a right that doesn't have a statute of limitations. Andwhile Palestinians continue to demand their right of return, otherrights – to safety, to freedom of movement, to work and shelter andfood – are violated as a matter of routine. The names of Palestinianrefugee camps have become references to massacres and crimes committedagainst the Palestinian people: Sabra and Shatila (Lebanon), Jenin(West Bank), Rafah (Gaza) and today we add Al-Tanaf, Al-Hol, Al-Walidand Al-Ruweished.

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