Israel draws up plans to aid Darfur refugees

Thursday, April 26, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
Israel's Foreign Ministry this week ordered several of its departments to draw up plans to directly aid the millions of Sudanese residents of the Darfur region who have been made refugees by a rampaging government-backed Arab militia.

The Darfur conflict erupted in 2003 when ethnic African rebels Sudanese military and police posts, prompting a crushing military response from Khartoum.

Later that year, the all-Arab Janjaweed militia was unleashed on the region. At least 200,000 people are believed to have been killed and another 2.5 million displaced since that time, as the Janjaweed has refused to make any distinction between armed Darfur rebels and the general civilian population.

Israel's response until recently has been limited to providing funds for UN humanitarian efforts and the participation of individual Israelis on humanitarian missions to the area.

Israel's Foreign Ministry has met twice in recent years to discuss ways to become more involved. But with an official state of war existing between Sudan and Israel, and no diplomatic ties with neighboring Chad, there was little hope of directly aiding the millions who have been camped for years in dire conditions on the border between the two African nations.

Foreign Ministry Director-General Aaron Abramovitch is determined to change that, and is pressing his subordinates to submit their proposals with all haste, reported Ha'aretz.

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