Monday, August 27, 2007

Israel Reject More Refugees

Israel has limited the number of refugees it will take from Sudan to 400. Adjusting for population that would be about 7500 for the US around the time of World War II.

So, I guess all is forgiven about the St. Louis?

Israel bars Darfur refugees
19/08/2007 22:01 - (SA)

A Sudanese boy stands at a private home where he and others are being housed after crossing from Egypt into Israel. (Ariel Schalit, AP)

Jerusalem - Israel said on Sunday it would shut its doors to refugees from Sudan's war-torn Darfur region, touching off hot debate over whether the Jewish state, founded after the Nazi genocide, has a duty to take in people fleeing persecution.

Israel has been grappling for months with how to deal with a swelling flow of Africans, including some from Darfur, who have infiltrated through its porous southern border with Egypt's Sinai desert. Overnight, Israel returned 48 African infiltrators to Egypt.

Israeli government spokesperson David Baker said he didn't know if any were from Darfur, but noted Darfurians wouldn't be immune from Israel's ban on unauthorised migrants.

"The policy of returning back anyone who enters Israel illegally will pertain to everyone, including those from Darfur," he said.

Egyptian police said Darfurians were among the 48 - and would be expelled from Egypt to Sudan.

Pledge to absorb refugees

The decision to turn back asylum-seekers from Darfur contradicts Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's pledge earlier this summer to absorb them. Baker said those already in Israel would be allowed to stay, and that the turnback policy applied to new arrivals.

Fighting between pro-government militias and rebels in Darfur has killed more than 200 000 people and displaced 2.5 million since February 2003. Most of the displaced people remain in Darfur, but the UN estimates 236 000 have fled across the border to neighbouring Chad, where they live in camps.

Israel's response to the unexpected arrivals has been incoherent and contradictory. Threats to expel them have clashed with humanitarian sentiments inspired by the memory of Jews vainly seeking sanctuary from the Nazis.

Eytan Schwartz, an advocate for Darfur refugees in Israel, said about 400 have entered Israel in recent years. Baker said they would be allowed to live in Israel, and that the ban applied to new arrivals.

Schwartz objected to any such ban. "The state of Israel has to show compassion for refugees after the Jewish people was subject to persecution throughout its history," he said.

But Ephraim Zuroff of the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center said the Jewish people could not be expected to right every wrong just because of its past.

"Israel can't throw open the gates and allow unlimited access for people who are basically economic refugees," Zuroff said.,,2-10-1462_2167348,00.html


Blogger Nikol said...

Good point. And what do you think of, for example, Shoher's attitude like here ?

9/22/2007 01:35:00 PM  

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