THESE PAST TWO DAYS Human rights institutions have been repeatedly reporting of and condemning that some 20 Eritrean refugee-claimants are being denied access to Israel by the fence recently built by the defence system of that country. Not only, but the border controlling military units have been ordered to provide the unfortunate only drinking water :”Only the barely minimum.” Of the protection seeking derelicts, two are women, one of whom visibly pregnant had a miscarriage: it does not take much of thinking in linking traumatic stress, fear, hunger, thirst and miscarriage. UNHCR representatives in the country pleaded with the Israeli Government to let the unfortunate in, as signatories of the 1951 Geneva Convention for the Refugees. The sarcastic response from the Interrior Ministry was: “In the situation in which I have to chose between the safety of the country by sealing the borders or to let refugees in the country, I choose the safety of the borders.”
Likewise, other volunteer organizations have been prevented by the border guards to provide food and medication. Roman used to say: “Historia magistra vitae” or “We learn from past events!” This does not seem to be the case now. History repeats itself.
In 1939, 937 Jews fleeing from the Nazi Germany were denied entry in Cuba, US, and Canada, and forced to return to Europe. Historians claim that, after their return to Europe, approximately a quarter of the ship’s passengers died at the hands of the Nazis.
The Israeli MOI is well aware that these Eritrean refugees have undertaken this “TRIP TO HELL” after paying hefty sums to smugglers; in the process some of them may have been sold to human traffickers in Sudan or in the Sinai Peninsula and redeemed by paying thousands of dollars by relatives who are bleeding out their last resources, only to be abandoned in the desert and exposing them to the Egyptian patrolling units who first shoot and then ask for identity papers. The Israeli MOI knows very well Egyptian authorities have refouled Eritrean refugees against their will.
Is this the case that the first generation of yesterday’s victims is turning around and victimize an even more disoriented and abandoned people?
Is the Israeli Interior Minister acting on behalf of the people of the Covenant who was instructed: “You shall not violate the rights of the alien . . . Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt” (Dt 24:17), or are the Israelis complacently looking the other way and choose to ignore his decisions on their behalf?