Sunday, August 19, 2007

Israel Violates International Law and Moral Decency, Refusing Targets of Genocide

Sudanese refugee held in an Israeli jail because he is a national of a country Israel regards as an enemy.

One of the reasons that Adolf Eichmann gave for the "final solution" being genocide was that Jews could not be removed from Germany in any other way, since no other country would take them in sufficient numbers, including the United States. (See Hanna Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem [1963].)

In recognition of the impediments national borders pose to victims of state violence -- serving as armed guards for the perpetrators -- the United Nations passed a resolution affirming that signatories would allow all those presenting themselves as refugees due to state persecution entry into their countries and hearings to determine the legitimacy of these claims.

In yet the latest expression of its hypocrisy, symptomatic of the untenability of the international system of nation-states more generally, Israel has just turned away thousands of refugees from Darfur, without mandated hearings and in violation of their commitments under international law. Here's some of what the Washington Post reported today.
Authorities announced that they had expelled 48 of more than 2,000 African refugees who have entered illegally from Egypt in recent weeks. Officials said they would allow 500 Darfurians among them to remain, but would deport everyone else back to Egypt and accept no more illegal migrants from Darfur or other places ....

Egyptian police told the Associated Press, however, that Egypt would send the Sudanese back to Sudan. An Egyptian Foreign Ministry official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israel had sought no assurances about the future of the refugees. "Israel just said, 'Please take them,' " the Egyptian official said.

Refugees from Darfur are escaping what President Bush and others have called genocide by government-allied Arab militias against ethnic African villagers. In addition, Sudan and Israel officially are enemies, and Sudan's government has said any refugees sent back from Israel would be considered as having dealt with an enemy state and treated accordingly....

srael apparently expelled them without hearings, in contravention of a refugee accord it has signed that requires countries to determine whether deportation will subject asylum-seekers to mistreatment, said Ben-Dor, the Israeli refugee lawyer.

More than half the members of Israel's parliament, including opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu, signed a petition earlier this month urging Israel not to send the refugees back to Egypt....

"The expulsion is an inhumane act that violates international law," said lawmaker Dov Khenin of the Hadash party, according to the Haaretz newspaper Web site.

If even Israel cannot abide by the only meager protection available to those facing slaughter by their states, i.e., allowing them a place of sanctuary, then this seems rather damning evidence that the nation-state is a failure and it might be time to try new rules for controlling movement and membership.

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