Simon, UK

April 3, 2011

I’m a London based business consultant with a degree in Political science and am also an avid scuba diver 😉

Whilst much attention is given to the treatment of Palestinians by the IDF, less focus is on the plight of African migrants coming through the Egyptian-Israeli border. They are routinely arrested and placed under incredibly harsh conditions despite the fact that many are legitimate refugees fleeing from the multiple genocides currently taking place in East Africa. Your profile says that you served on that border; did you encounter any African migrants?

If so, how did you react to them and did the IDF’s treatment of them fulfil your moral standards?

Do you think that the Israeli government’s approach to those Africans fleeing genocide is sufficient for a government born out of the Holocaust?

Hi Simon thanks for your question.

I actually encountered many refugees. I personally had a very soft spot in my heart for these people. Some of whom are educated possessing tertiary qualifications that are declared useless in their countries of origin due to the gruelling realities that suffocate them. The stories some of them have told me, and the things i have seen.Some of them cross the the barbed wire barefoot, pregnant with little children. Yet some cross wearing Gucci t shirts and better shoes than i can afford. I think that’s where the problem arises. There are so many crossing the border daily and many who are from regions of relative stability, some come from as far off as the Gambia or Ghana or Mauritania. With so many crossing the border often with out any documentation it is becoming increasingly difficult to define who is truly eligible to yoke the refugee status, or who is simply an opportunist. These people often pay Bedouin smugglers the sum of 1500 US $ to be smuggled from Darfur through Egypt and ushered up to the Israeli border under the cover of darkness. with the Israeli unemployment rates swelling this influx has begun to take an effect. The refugees crossing the border used to see us as saints in comparison to our Egyptian counterparts who routinely shoot them on site. As to your statement regarding the harsh conditions they live in, its is true that there status greatly limits their employment and lifestyle options, personally i see there lives here as far better off then their own countries and whilst legal issues do place severe pressure on them they continue to flock here in their thousands.

The conduct of the men who served with me was exemplary. Refugees were well taken care of, fed and received appropriate medical treatment.

As much as i would hope that the government would alleviate the pressures of these refugees residing here, a catch 22 situation exists. The better the situation here the more flock from all corners of northern Africa thus the worse their situation gets and the more the society as a whole has begun to reject them.
I hope i have been able to shed some light on the issues here.
Feel free to ask more questions



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