Thursday, June 08, 2006

Israel Jails, Returns Refugees

Israel is not living up to the high standard some Jewish groups have set for moral behavior.

MAASIYAHU PRISON, Israel (AP) - Standing behind bars and begging to tell of families murdered and homes destroyed, the Sudanese in Maasiyahu Prison are confronting their Israeli jailers with a quandary that taps deep into the trauma of the Holocaust.

The Sudanese, some 220 men and women, say they fled massacres and religious persecution in the war-torn Darfur region and in southern Sudan. But they are not eligible for asylum here because Israel considers their country, an Arab League member, to be an ``enemy state.''

Some agree with me:

[T]heir imprisonment has angered some Israelis, including the director of Yad Vashem, the national Holocaust memorial. They say the Jews, having suffered genocide, have a moral duty to help the Sudanese.

There is more coverage in Ha'aretz:

"The problem is that there’s no cooperation with the Egyptians,” Bar-On said. “There are even cases where we try to push [the refugees] back and [the Egyptians] push them into Israel. It’s truly a game of arm-wrestling over the border, over the refugee.”

Bar-On added that in “hot return,” “you catch and return” without the need for deportation orders and arrest in Israel. Bar-On said the wave of refugees trying to get into Israel in the past several months must be stopped to prevent the country from being flooded with Sudanese.

Hot return indeed.




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