Israel and the Darfur Refugees

How many Sudanese refugees have been admitted to the United States and countries in Europe?

Israel has accepted more than 3,000 already and more are trying to come here. To get to Israel, they risk much. Egyptian soldiers threaten them, beat them, and in at least one case that was witnessed by Israeli soldiers (who attempted to help the refugees and were pushed back at gunpoint), the Egyptians have even committed murder.

By comparison, Israel has housed them, fed them and offered them political asylum and even retraining. How is this treated in the media? The answer is – it isn’t…until today when Israel announced a new policy

“Israel turns away Darfur refugees” reports CNN.

CNN begins the report by explaining that “Israel on Sunday rejected 50 Africans — most of them reportedly from Sudan’s Darfur region — who had illegally entered the country from Egypt, a government official said.”

The CNN report goes on, “Israel has been struggling with how to cope with an increasing number of Africans, including some from Darfur, who enter the country through Israel’s southern border with Egypt. According to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, the refugees were arrested Friday evening as they tried to cross from Egypt into Israel. They were held at a military base in southern Israel before being driven back to Egypt on Sunday, the newspaper reported. The nationalities of the 50 sent back Sunday were not released, but the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, citing figures from the Israeli military, said nearly all of them had escaped the genocide in Darfur.”

Rather than praise Israel for admitting thousands of people from an anti-Israel country, the CNN report continues to use negativity, “Israeli law denies asylum to anyone from an enemy state, AP reports. Sudan’s Muslim government is hostile to Israel and has no diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. “

Only later on does CNN begin to show the true picture, “Dozens of Israeli lawmakers recently signed a petition urging the government not to deport Sudanese refugees. Arab militias supported by Sudan’s government have committed numerous human rights atrocities, U.N. officials say, including the slaughter and gang rape of civilians, destruction of water sources, looting and burning of buildings and crops. Earlier this month, Israel’s Channel 10 interviewed Israeli soldiers who said they had witnessed Egyptian security officers executing several Darfur refugees. According to Channel 10, their testimonies were backed up by Israeli military security cameras that showed Egyptian soldiers shooting and killing several asylum-seekers.”

Citing a major Israeli newspaper, CNN continued, “According to Haaretz, one of the asylum-seekers ‘jumped on the wire fence in an attempt to make it over to the Israeli side, but was reportedly dragged back and bludgeoned to death by the Egyptians.’ Responding to the report, Human Rights Watch called on Egypt to investigate the reported deaths.”

Only near the end, does CNN finally get around to explaining, “Since the beginning of the year, nearly 3,000 Africans have crossed from Egypt into Israel — nearly half of them from Sudan, many traveling on foot. Many Sudanese refugees end up in Israeli prisons waiting for the government to decide what to do with them. Israeli volunteers — outraged at the incarcerations — have helped many Sudanese find work in Israel’s agricultural communities and temporarily live in family homes across Israel.”

And so we return to the main issue – how many Sudanese refugees have been taken in and given shelter and housing? We know they aren’t being welcomed in Egypt. To set the record straight, CNN should investigate other countries as well.

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