March 5, 2008 (TEL AVIV) – SPLM supporters in Israel announced establishment of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement office in Israel, a press release said today.
- A Sudanese refugee child walks past Israeli Border Police officers in the Rose Garden, just outside Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem, Sunday, July 8, 2007.
"After consultation with the leadership of SPLM in Juba, the supporters of SPLM in Israel have decided to establish the office of SPLM in Israel." Said a statement received by email from Tel Aviv signed by the SLMP secretariat in Israel.
The statement said that SPLM office would promote the policies and the vision of the SPLM in the region. It further added that in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement the SPLM has the right to open in any country including Israel.
It also indicated that there are around 400 SPLM supporters in Israel.
Darfur rebel leader Abdel Wahid al-Nur said last week he opened an office in Tel Aviv. Khartoum has condemned the move saying it gives "a material proof that Darfur crisis is manipulated by foreign hands and a Jewish lobby."
"The Southern Sudanese in Israel are very grateful to the leadership of President Salva Kiir Mayardit who persuaded Israeli government to resettle Southerners who escaped from Egypt." The statement said.
Egyptian authorities arrest regularly large number of Sudanese, mainly from southern Sudan and Darfur, who try to cross illegally to Israel from Sinai peninsula. But many have succeeded to enter into Israel.
The Sudanese migrants are drawn to Israel by rumours of better living conditions and hopes of gaining asylum there, but are also keen to leave Egypt where activists say they face persistent racism, abuse, and economic marginalisation.
According to a letter sent to the Sudanese First Vice President and president of southern Sudan, the Chairman of Sudanese Refugees Organization in Israel, Majier Anyuat Pap, urged Salva Kiir Mayadrit to help them to return to Southern Sudan.
In the letter that Sudan Tribune received a copy of it on February 24, Pap said "These are a group of over 2000, South Sudanese fled from North Sudan to Egypt to Israel over the last year or so, and we are stranded here. We fled because the authorities in Egypt were dealing with us in a harsh way."
He further said "While nobody mistreats us here, we are not officially recognized as refugees, have no legal way of earning a living, have no education and proper housing. Attempts at having the Israeli government accept us as officially recognized refugees have not, so far, been successful, and our situation is getting worse by day."
Pap blamed Salva Kiir for ignoring their different letters "our question here is, we are not South Sudanese? Or we can not do in future in South Sudan? If all of these are truths you must to reply, Mr. President"