Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti called Sunday on the international community to pressure the Israeli authorities to consider absorbing 7,000 Palestinian refugees, currently residing in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon, into the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) territories.
Barghouti’s call comes amidst the growing suffering of the Palestinian refugees under continued attacks by Iraqi militias. In a statement issued Sunday, minister Barghouti expressed the PA's readiness to relocate the Palestinian refugees into the occupied Palestinian territories, yet he doubted such a possibility, given Israel’s control over borders crossings.
The statement considered such an Israeli domination as an obstruction to such a step, pointing out that the international concern over the refugees should prompt the international community to clear away such a difficulty.
In the meantime, the U.S consulate in Jerusalem denied Sunday media reports which claimed that the United States is willing to welcome 3,000 to 7,000 Palestinian refugees of Iraq to its territories. The consulate was quoted as saying “the news is incorrect”.
Since the demise of the former Iraqi regime of Sadam Hussien in 2003, the Palestinian refugees of Iraq have been intimidated, humiliated and terrorized at the hands of unknown Iraqi militias. Many efforts, including the PA’s, have so far been exerted to alleviate their suffering, while safe border shelters have been installed in some neighboring countries.
The occupied Palestinian territories including the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, make up a limited Palestinian autonomy agreed upon between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993. Israel strictly controls border crossings, allowing very limited reunifications of Palestinian families from the Diaspora.