Israel Welcomes 500 Darfur Refugees

All others will be expelled
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2007 3:56 AM CDT
A Sudanese refugee family sit on the ground in front of an Israeli soldier after they crossed illegally from Egypt into Israel, early Monday, Aug. 20, 2007.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Israel has agreed to allow 498 refugees who fled Darfur through Egypt to remain in the country, although their legal status remains undecided. Africans from other parts of the continent and new arrivals from Darfur, however, will be expelled. Egypt has agreed to accept refugees who are returned after trying to cross to Israel over the Egyptian border.

Israel has a complicated attitude toward refugees: It's too small to accommodate all comers, but the country was established as a refuge for the persecuted. Israel "can't stand by and shut its eyes, but a quota must be set," said the interior minister. Israel also has a policy against accepting asylum-seekers from countries like Sudan that don't recognize the Israeli state.