Israel Expels Sudanese Refugees
“Our Christian friends will have a very hard time explaining why Israel is deporting Christian refugees back to Muslim countries that persecuted them,”
August 20, 2007 Sudan (CBNNews) – At Sunday morning’s Cabinet Meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed satisfaction that the arrangement with Egypt regarding Sudanese refugees entering Israel illegally was at last being implemented.
Olmert was referring to a promise exacted from Egyptian President Hosni Murbarak at their July meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh that Egypt would take back Sudanese refugees seeking asylum in Israel .
On Sunday, Israel expelled 48 such refugees, the majority of whom fled the genocide in Darfur, but found life in Egypt so untenable that they risked their lives to cross the border into Israel .
“I hope the incident marks the beginning of a process that will end illegal infiltration across Israel ‘s border,” Olmert told his Cabinet.
Israelis devoted to helping the Sudanese refugees decried the government’s decision to expel them to Egypt .
“The hasbara [public relations] catastrophe is not worth whatever the government thinks it is gaining by this move,” said Eitan Schwartz, spokesman for the Committee for the Advancement of Refugees from Darfur (CARD).
“Our Christian friends will have a very hard time explaining why Israel is deporting Christian refugees back to Muslim countries that persecuted them,” he said.
In the past, Schwartz explained, Muslim countries executed Christian refugees who fled to Israel . According to Schwartz , Sudan ‘s interior minister said they would be “held accountable.”
Of the nearly 3,000 refugees who have entered Israel illegally in the recent past, the government plans to allow 500 to remain.