Israel: Darfur refugees to become citizens

Sept. 5, 2007 at 6:16 PM
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JERUSALEM, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Israeli Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit said this week that hundreds of Darfur refugees seeking asylum in Israel will soon be granted citizenship.

At an appearance in the Israeli city of Petah Tikva this week, Sheetrit said the Interior Ministry has begun investigating all current Darfur refugees to determine who is eligible to become a naturalized Israeli citizen, Haaretz reported Wednesday.

Sheetrit's ministry does have the authority to grant citizenship even if certain refugees do not meet with Israel's citizenship criteria

In addition, Sheetrit said that he had been having discussions with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert regarding how many of the displaced refugees would be granted citizenship overall.

The Israeli newspaper reported that Sheetrit said that with more than 2,000 Darfur refugees living in Israel, the nation could not turn its back on the troubled individuals.

"Just as Prime Minister Menachem Begin acted to grant citizenship to refugees from Vietnam, the same ought to be done today," Sheetrit said Tuesday.

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