Sunday, June 11, 2006

Israel Holding Over 200 Sudanese Refugees in Prison

Yes, I was shocked tonight as Shiranne drove me home from the Maidle Place and we heard over the radio (BBC) that Israel had detained over 200 refugees from the Darfur region who had illegally entered Israel via Egypt seeking refuge.

Various thoughts raced through my mind at first, like: That's ironic that refugees from Darfur are fleeing to Israel from Muslim persecution. I thought Israel was the big bad wolf of the Middle East? Of course, which Arab country is going to help any refugees, especially non-Muslim ones? Oh wait, didn't something like this happen before, like in the early 1980's when Israel had to intervene in Lebanon to stop Muslim persecution of Christians there? But as usual, I digress.

Israel claims to have detained the Sudanese refugees because Sudan is considered a terrorist country and they feared that terrorists would be infiltrating into Israel along with refugees. However, at this point some of the refugees have been held in Israeli prisons for over a year without even a trial. And that is the ultimate irony: Israel, established as a safe-haven for Jews fleeing persecution and genocide the world over appears to be turning a cold shoulder to these Darfurian refugees in their time of need.

Currently, numerous humanitarian organizations are pressuring Israel to revise its stance. Even Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel has thrown in his two cents: "We as Jews are obliged to help not only Jews. I was a refugee and therefore I am in favor of admitting refugees. [...] History constantly chooses a capital of human suffering, and Darfur is today the capital of human suffering. Israel should absorb refugees from Darfur, even a symbolic number."

Continue reading in the New York Times, Haaretz, or the Washington Times.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an interesting bind for Israel???? I only hope they do the right thing....but that's something not always clear. Israel should try to do whatever it can for these people even if it can only be a temporary stay. At least, they're not going to be killed while they're in least not by Israelis :-((( If the people of Sudan want out of their country because of persecution than Israel could at least offer itself as a launching pad to other safe destinations. Holding them for a year, what gives? I haven't read the article but are these prisons or are they more like camps? And you said "some," why only "some" and not all??? I think there's more to the story

Mon Jun 12, 12:37:00 AM 2006  
Blogger G-D SQUAD said...

I suggest reading the NY Times article if you want to be more informed. Why only "some"? Because only some of them came over a year ago. Some of them came more recently, so they haven't been in prison for as long. And as far as I understand it, they're straight up in PRISON, not in camps.

Yeah, Israel as a temporary safe haven sounds like a great idea. But what do you think about what Elie Wiesel said? It sounds like he supports absorbing them as citizens.

Mon Jun 12, 10:00:00 AM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No - I don't support making anybody a citizen of Israel who wants to be. Sure, you can say, well it's just a few people, and if it were an "absorbable minority" than I'd say fine. However, what I pick-up in Eli Wiesel's words is a thought process of making Israel an "open" country where anyone should be able to live if they want to. I know that's terribly un-PC by stringent, Santa Cruz standards. I feel, though, Israel should always keep in mind the value of maintaining its Jewish/Israeli character.

On that note, maybe I'm paranoid, but I don't support putting Israel in an uncomfortable position where it begins to allow in some people in and then more and more people start breaking down the door to get in. There are a lot of people in a shitty situation in Sudan. The whole world needs to help!

Tue Jun 13, 01:51:00 PM 2006  

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