It has been known for some time that the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas is operating in the Egyptian Sinai. But Israel is not the only victim of this development. African migrants and refugees seeking asylum in Israel have reportedly been captured and grossly ill treated by the Palestinian militants.
The Italian-based human rights organization EveryOne reported at the weekend that it had petitioned the Egyptian government to intervene and save the lives of 250 Eritrean refugees who were taken by Hamas operatives in Sinai earlier this month.
The Eritreans were reportedly making their way to Israel when they came across Hamas men in the desert. The Palestinians offered to smuggle them into Israel for a payment of $2,000, but instead took them to a holding facility outside the Sinai-Gaza border town of Rafah.
The Africans have been kept in abysmal conditions. What’s worse, EveryOne reported that eight of the migrants were murdered and four others disappeared. All of them are believed to be victims of organ harvesting and trafficking. About 100 of the Africans have been moved to another facility purportedly in preparation to have their organs harvested, too.
A statement released by EveryOne said that the women and children among the African captives are regularly beaten and raped, and many are contemplating suicide.
Israel itself is hotly debating what to do about the massive influx of African migrants to the country over the past decade. There are roughly 30,000 illegal African migrants living in Israel. They constitute about 4 percent of the entire population of Tel Aviv, where most of the migrants reside.
Earlier this month, Israel sent several planeloads of migrants back to their countries of origin, but local human rights groups have blocked the deportation of many on the grounds that their lives would be put in danger by returning to Africa.
Many Israeli are sympathetic toward the plight of the Africans entering their country, and believe that Jewish history compels them to lend a helping hand and provide safe haven. But many Israelis also fear that such an influx of foreign non-Jewish migrants could eventually disrupt the demographic balance in the country, as well as adversely affect Israel’s economy.