Tuesday, June 17, 2008

AFRICANS ASK ISRAEL FOR ASYLUM

ISRAEL DEBATES ASYLUM FOR NEW WAVE OF SUDANESE

Jun. 17 (GIN) – A new wave of refugees from the war in Sudan has landed in Israel where they are appealing to the Israeli government for asylum.

But proposed new legislation in Israel makes the African refugees subject to hefty prison sentences with especially tough sentences for those coming from enemy states, such as Sudan.

“We do not want our small country overrun by an unending flood of desperate foreigners,” the Jerusalem Post wrote in a recent editorial which also criticized the new immigration rules.

Majier Pap, representing the southern Sudanese refugees, argued: "We are South Sudanese, mostly Christians, persecuted by a regime of Muslim fundamentalists, who are bitter enemies of Israel - we are, to all intents and purposes, your allies."

African asylum seekers have been crossing into Israel from the Egyptian Sinai since 2006 but their numbers have increased dramatically.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has floated the idea of a money offer to Ethiopia, Uganda, the Ivory Coast and Benin – all countries with diplomatic ties to Israel – to take the refugees. Little support has been expressed for the idea although none have rejected it outright.
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