Africans, Emigrating to Israel, Shot by Egypt

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NPR reports that refugees from Sudan, Eritrea and Kenya, fleeing the economic and health crises in their own countries, are pouring into Israel. But they must cross the border into Egypt in order to traverse into Israel, and Egyptian border patrols have become increasingly vigilant in recent days, killing five Africans, and possibly several more.

[Jerusalem-based Times of London reporter Sheera] Frenkel says the crackdown over the last six months has been significant. She also says human rights organization she’s spoken to in Israel and Egypt have heard of dozens of other shootings. Frenkel described a day a year ago when Israeli soldiers witnessed a lynching, and another when Egyptian soldiers used rocks, stones and pieces of wood to kill illegal crossers.

It’s a known fact that Israel lacks a certain immediacy, shall we say, in policing the flow of immigrants, legal and otherwise. And of all the countries in the area, Israel is historically the most likely to open its arms to refugees. Curiously, the NPR story makes no mention of how Israel has responded, other than debating the question as to whether to treat the incoming Africans as refugees or migrants.

Posted on August 25, 2008

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