amnesty international estimates some 2,400 darfur refugees have infiltrated israel over the egyptian sinai border over the last few months. dozens more arrive each day. they flee egypt out of mortal fear after having been repeatedly attacked by local arab and nubian armed groups, persecuted for their christianity.
on crossing into israel the refugees are arrested by the idf, questioned and dumped in the lap of the beersheba municipality. with no government support beersheba has become saturated and can no longer provide shelter and food. volunteers in the area are exhausted.
some 50 darfur refugees were bussed to jerusalem and set in an improvised camp in the wohl garden opposite the knesset, the israeli parliament, in an attempt to force the government to act on the refugee issue.
pm ehud olmert announced the government would immediately begin deportation of the refugees back to egypt. israel cannot be an address for millions of refugees in egypt.
this afternoon, shimon peres will be sworn in as israel’s 9th president in a festive ceremony at the knesset in jerusalem. why do i have a feeling the darfur refugees will again be bussed somewhere else before the ceremony begins? dumped back in beersheba perhaps, being unsuitable as background for the all important presidential ceremony…