Sunday, March 10, 2013

Crimes against humanity

A series of BBC reports have highlighted the brutal situation in the Sinai peninsula of Egypt that includes terrible crimes against humanity.  As a result of the "Arab spring" uprisings that overthrew Pres. Mubarak of Egypt and the subsequent loss of Egyptian army and police control, the Sinai has become a lawless area, controlled by local Beduin gangs.  Thousands of black Africans have in the past few years been attracted to Sinai as a gateway to Israel.  Although most of them are Muslims they apparently knew that they would get a fairer treatment in Israel than they did in Egypt.
Although it was known that the Egyptian guards summarily shoot these illegal immigrants or imprison them in terrible conditions, they kept coming.  Unfortunately, the numbers were overwhelming, tens of thousands of them flooded into Israel, most making their way to the poor neighborhood of South Tel Aviv.  This prompted Israel to build a holding facility for them near Eilat, but this was inadequate, so many were released to work in Eilat and elsewhere.  As a result of attacks from Sinai by terrorists from Gaza that killed several Israelis, the Israeli Government decided to build a strong security fence along its southern border with Egypt.  In a few years this caused the number of illegal immigrants to drop from thousands a month to a few individuals.  This now enabled Israel to focus on how to repatriate many of these illegal immigrants back to their own countries, particularly South Sudan after it became independent.  Israel organized flights in conjunction with the new South Sudan Government and thousands have been repatriated.  But, those that can show that it is dangerous for them to return to their country cannot legally be returned, and there are legal advice offices available to them free in South Tel Aviv.
However, what has been happening in Sinai has become unbelievable.  Beduin gangs and Egyptians from elsewhere in the country, have been scouring Sinai capturing these hapless illegal immigrants.  They have become a source of money and prostitutes for these criminal elements.  Men and women have been raped and tortured and sold for profit.  Taking hostages is the main industry, with people being tortured on camera and phone in order to extract money from their families. A favorite torture is dripping burning plastic onto their bodies.  Since most of these people are very poor, very few of their families can afford to pay the ransom of $5,000.  If this is not paid in a few days, the vicitim is simply killed.  They are usually cut up and left to bleed to death in the desert.  Around El Arish and  Rafah, that straddles the Egyptian-Gaza border, there are said to be hundreds or thousands of dumped bodies. A British tourist was also recently taken prisoner by Beduin tribesmen.
But, the most lucrative aspect of this market is the use of body parts for organ donations.  Africans, mostly now from Eritrea, are captured, cut up, without anesthesia, and their organs removed and then transported to Cairo from where they are flown around the world.  The bodies of the victims are then also dumped in the desert.  This is an ongoing crime against humanity that is taking place under the noses of the Egyptian police, and apparently they are complicit in this.  Detainees in Egyptian prisons are routinely tortured and sometimes disappear.  Tell that to the well-meaning liberals who are so concerned about the Palestinians, whose treatment by the IDF forces is civilized by comparison. 
Although the situation on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights is not as bad as that in Sinai, the war between the Syrian Army supporting the regime of Pres. Assad and the insurgents of the Free Syrian Army has heated up recently.  The latest incident is the taking of 21 unarmed Filippino UN peace keeping soldiers as hostages by the FSA.  At first they demanded ransom, but then when the UN came out strongly they said they were holding the UN soldiers to protect them from the Syrian Army.  Now the UN captives are caught in the middle of the war zone between the two sides. This could augur problems for Israel if the UN peace-keeping role in the Golan is cut back.  On both its southern and northern borders Israel is now facing Arab areas of instability and conflict.


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