Israel urged to keep Sudanese refugees

Aug. 3, 2007 at 2:14 PM
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TEL AVIV, Israel, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- A group of Israeli university students has sparked a move in parliament to persuade the government not to send Sudanese refugees to Egypt.

The students initiated a petition signed by 63 members of the Knesset calling on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to allow refugees who crossed into Israel from Egypt to remain, Ynetnews reported Friday.

"The refugees who arrived here need protection and shelter," the petition reads. "Their absorption as refugees is a moral duty, considering the history of the Jewish people and the values of democracy and humanity."

At least four Sudanese refugees attempting to cross into Israel have been killed by Egyptian soldiers and others have reportedly been beaten, Israeli TV reported.

One of the Knesset members who signed the petition, Zevulun Orlev, said he felt compelled to do so because of Jewish morals and Jewish history.

"Our history as a nation that was persecuted during the Holocaust obligates us to try and help the refugees," Orlev told Ynetnews.

Another Knesset member, Yuli Edelstein, said Israel must do everything in its power to aid the Darfur refugees because of what they've been through.

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