Israel has softened its stance on the Sudanese refugees who have been seeking the right to stay in the country, saying yesterday it will grant citizenship to 300 to 500 Darfuris whose fate has generated widespread concern. Said the Jewish state’s interior minister, “Israel, with its history, must offer assistance.” Refugee advocates applauded the decision, the Christian Science Monitor reports, but not the terms.
Critics say Israel should accept all 1,700 refugees from Sudan, not just the ones from Darfur. There is also much dismay over the policy of “hot return,” which directs border guards to force new refugees back into Egypt. As the debate has raged in Israel over the African immigrants, some kibbutzim have offered them shelter.