September 13, 2002
Iraq will pay up to GBP 3,200 each to Palestinians whose homes have been
demolished in an Israeli campaign against suspected militants.
A pro-Iraqi group has issued the offer and also hinted that Iraq is
supplying weapons to the Palestinians.
Iraq has been trying to counteract Israel’s efforts of deterring militants by
punishing their families.
It has paid compensation to families of Palestinians killed in two years of
Israeli-Palestinian fighting, and to relatives of suicide bombers.
In all, Iraq has contributed GBP 22 million to the Palestinians since the start of
the fighting, says Ibrahim Zannen, a spokesman for the Arab Liberation Front, a
small pro-Iraqi Palestinian faction in Gaza.
“The next step for us is that we are willing to give financial aid to people
whose houses were demolished in the past few months during the last
aggression in the West Bank,” said Zannen, whose group serves as a conduit
for Iraqi money.
Since mid-July, Israeli troops have demolished more than two dozen homes of
suspected Palestinian militants, as part of a new policy of deterrence. Zannen
says each family will receive up to $5,000.
Earlier in the year, Iraq began paying between $5,000 and $25,000 each to
Palestinians whose homes were destroyed in Israeli military raids in the Rafah
and Jenin refugee camps, both hit hard by the fighting.
Families of suicide bombers also receive $25,000.
Iraq is supporting the Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation in other
ways, Zannen says, hinting that Saddam is also supplying arms.
Asked about Iraqi weapons shipments to the Palestinians, Zannen said, “Iraq is
supporting the Palestinian uprising by all means.”