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Monday, July 9, 2007

From Sudan - grotesque humor

Priceless Sudanese Humor: If you liked the jokes about babies from Bangladesh and babies from Ethiopia, you'll love this one. According to the Sudanese, their refugee crisis is all Israel's fault. Apparently the evil Zionists sent people to Darfur to propagandize them. The poor people got the strange notion that being raped and murdered is not good, and decided to leave.
Ami Isseroff
Last update - 10:46 09/07/2007   
By Amiram Barkat and Mijal Grinberg, Haaretz Correspondents

Sudan's Interior Minister Al-Zubair Bashir Taha was quoted Monday as saying Israel is encouraging his country's citizens to emigrate to Israel to tarnish Khartoum's image.
Israel Radio reported Bashir Taha dubbed the refugee crisis a "melodrama" manufactured by Israel, and threatened legal action against expatriated citizens who attempted to enter Israel.
"It's not clear where they're trying to reach, whether they want to continue from Israel to Europe or America. They know nothing about Israel," he said.

He added that some 3,000 Sudanese nationals try to reach Israel annually, of which 30 percent originate from the restive Darfur region, 40 percent come the predominantly Christian south and the rest from the mountainous Nubian areas in the north.
Meanwhile, the Jewish Agency for Israel announced it would fund temporary housing for 70 African refugees after the Prime Minister's Office stated it would not pay for the asylum seekers welfare.
The PMO announced it would not lodge African refugees in hotels, dormitories, or temporary camps, in order to send a message that Israel is not willing to absorb them.
The PMO added that deportation to Egypt is the state's only solution for the African refugees and foreign workers that infiltrated from Egypt, even though some of them are refugees who fled persecution in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region.
According to the PMO, the deportation to Egypt has been delayed so far only because a full list of the refugees has not been compiled.
Earlier on Sunday, the PMO denied claims it had pledged to arrange and finance accommodations for Sudanese refugees who were bussed to Jerusalem from Be'er Sheva earlier in the day to protest the lack of government funding for the welfare of African asylum seekers.
Shortly after the 54 refugees arrived at the Wohl Rose Garden, across from the Knesset building, the government announced that it would transport the refugees back to Be'er Sheva and arrange accommodations for them, but only for one night. The Prime Minister's office later denied any such promises had been made.
The Be'er Sheva municipality, who had earlier bussed the refugees to Jerusalem for the protest, announced Sunday that it would transport the remaining 180 refugees still in Be'er Sheva to Jerusalem in the coming days saying it is no longer willing to bear the cost of their accommodations.
By providing accommodations in Be'er Sheva, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office has prevented refugee advocate organizations from setting up protest tents for the refugees across from the Knesset building, as was their intention.
The Prime Minister's Office and the Welfare Ministry had said Sunday that the refugees would be transferred to the "Beit Yatziv" guest house in Be'er Sheva. The refugees were put on buses heading for Be'er Sheva and the government pledged to pay for their accommodations for Sunday.
The prime minister's adviser on social and welfare affairs Vered Sued visited the refugees Sunday and promised to resolve their problem. According to activists present at the protest, they were promised that the prime minister's office would finance their transport to Be'er Sheva and their stay at the Beit Yatziv guest house. The Darfur refugee committee agreed to the transfer, despite the fact that no concrete solution had been found for them.
Once the refugees had gotten back on the busses and headed to Be'er Sheva, the Prime Minister's office denied having promised to finance the refugees' accommodations. It also became clear that the Prime Minister's Office had not coordinated the refugees' stay at the Beit Yatziv guest house, or at any other hotel in the city. Student activists are currently working to find accommodations for the refugees.
After many hours of waiting on a bus in Be'er Sheva, a temporary solution was found for the next few days. Shortly before midnight, the Jewish Agency agreed to house the refugees at a dormitory near the western Negev city of Sderot. They will be provided for during the next ten days, at the behest of the Prime Minister's office. Jewish Agency Chairman Ze'ev Bielsky said "this is a humanitarian act of helping people in need."
The IDF have deposited growing numbers of mostly Sudanese and Eritrean refugees it caught illegally infiltrating Israel's border from Egypt in various southern towns without assuming responsibility for their welfare.
On Friday, the army left 44 refugees by the entrance to Be'er Sheva's city hall, despite the municipality's announcement it would not absorb any additional illegal immigrants until the government pledges funds for their care.

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