Islamic Mov't to house Sudanese refugees released by IDF
Last updated: July 4, 2007
June 16, 2007
By Mijal Grinberg, Haaretz Correspondent
The Islamic Movement announced Friday it provide assistance to 42 Sudanese refugees the Israel Defense Forces released in Be'er Sheva after they had been caught entering Israel illegally from Egypt.
A group of Bedouin found the refugees in Be'er Sheva's industrial district, and alerted volunteer aid workers and the media to their presence. The Bedouin then took the refugees to their nearby village to take care of them over the weekend.
The Islamic Movement said it and find the refugees housing in the Negev towns of Rahat and Kseifa.
The refugees, who are Christian (??? NB), fled Muslim persecution in Sudan.
Volunteers from the non-profit Azik organization of the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Economic Development, and the Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation, helped the refugees make sleeping arrangements and brought them food.
Some of the refugees were taken to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva, where a volunteer doctor checked the children for illnesses.
Approximately 1000 refugees from Africa have infiltrated into Israel since the beginning of 2007, of which about 750 are from Sudan. The rest are from states such as Eritrea and the Ivory Coast.
The IDF catches many of the refugees upon their entry into Israel. With no fixed solution to the problem of their status or governmental body set up to deal with them, the army regularly releases them from detention with no arrangements for their basic needs of housing and sustenance to fend for themselves in Be'er Sheva.
June 27, 2007
The IDF reversed the decision it took two months to stop jailing Sudanese refugees illegally crossing the border into Israel.
In the past two months, the IDF would arrest the refugees but leave them outside the police stations since the IDF is not allowed to hold refugees for more than 24 hours. Non-profit organizations would then pick the refugees up off the street, treat them, and help them find jobs.
The change in policy led to a leap in the number of refugee infiltrators seeking asylum in Israel. In the past month, 600 African refugees crossed the border from Egypt to Israel.
Since the disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005, the IDF has allocated more forces to patrol the 250-kilometer border with Egypt, because of fears of heightened efforts by terrorists to carry out attacks in Israel.
However, nearly every night the patrols are confronted with refugees sneaking into Israel.
The Immigration Administration refuses to deal with African refugees, mostly from Sudan, because the absence of diplomatic ties with Israel means that they cannot be sent back to their countries.
For its part, the police is quick to blame the IDF for not doing its job: "The IDF should close down the border with Egypt hermetically, so refugees will not be able to enter Israel. If the Immigration Administration would have to deal with these refugees, in a week all the holding areas would be full and they will stay that way for more than a decade - because it will not be possible to send them back to their countries."
As boycott campaigns targeting Israel are mounted in Britain and Ireland and new ones are announced almost weekly, the plight of the refugees in Israel and at its borders is bound to attract attention of many well intentioned individuals around the globe. It's a sure bet that human rights squads will soon dispatch their teams to Israel and they will come back with stories of refugees jailed, subsisting in camps in sub human conditions or shot at the border (the body of one such refugee was found yesterday. The man appears to have been shot from the Egyptian side, but this may fail to have any effect on human rights groups)
Recently the refugees were attracting a lot of attention in Israel too. Numerous articles and posts have been published in the media and blogsphere. Domestic critics accused the Israeli society in everything from racism to the failure to rise up to its divine mission and forgetting the lessons of Holocaust. This is because, as Ari Shavit rightly noticed, nothing excites passions of the PC culture more than an opportunity to engage in unbridled consumerism first, and in no less unbridled self righteous moral posturing second.
The tiny 'apartheid' state should better have no illusions about what the combined impact of the home grown critics and their international friends can be. Recently some Israelis were enthusiastically taking part in various campaigns of the friends of Darfur. They may soon come to regret the very fact of their participation.
Apart from these refugees, there are more than enough reasons to start fencing the country off from all sides including the South. The wave of Islamic fundamentalism is now reaching Israel borders with Gaza taken over by Hamas and Islamists launching attacks on the Lebanese army and UNIFIL in Lebanon. The Muslim Brotherhood is strong both in Jordan and in particular in Egypt. The relationships between the state and the Bedouins in Negev seem to be deteriorating. Israel should better fence off the border in the South now, lest it discovers one day that Bedouin gangs have smuggled into the country something worse than just arms and drugs.
July 4, 2007
Egyptian border guards shot a Sudanese refugee and arrested two others early Wednesday as they tried to cross from Egypt into Israel, a police official said.
Twenty-six other refugees were successful in their attempt to illegally cross the border, the official said. The IDF, meanwhile, said 47 Africans crossed the border from Egypt overnight, without specifying nationalities. The army did not provide more details.
Security officials shot one Sudanese refugee, who did not have a passport, when he did not comply with orders to turn himself over to authorities, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. The refugee was taken to an Egyptian hospital, and his condition was "very critical," according to the official.
Authorities arrested two other Sudanese refugees, Rawda Abdullah, 25, and her 24-year-old brother Ismail, who were from the war-torn Darfur region, as they tried to cross the border. They remain in police custody.
The three were part of a group of 29 Sudanese refugees who paid smugglers $500 each to help them sneak into Israel, said the official.
Radwa Abdullah told interrogators that the refugees met with a broker in Cairo who promised them a safe crossing into Israel. She said they were then covered with bed sheets on mini-trucks and entered the Sinai Peninsula, where they spent a night in Beduin tents. In the early morning, masked Beduin led them to a border area where the barbed wire was dangling and had many holes, the official said Radwa Abdullah told investigators.
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