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Yediot Jun30-11 [Sydney Waiting for Sudanese]

Yediot Jun30-11 [Sydney Waiting for Sudanese]

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Published by Didi Remez
Australian MP Michael Danby says MK Danny Danon made the whole thing up | http://bit.ly/mkskIr |
Australian MP Michael Danby says MK Danny Danon made the whole thing up | http://bit.ly/mkskIr |

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Published by: Didi Remez on Jun 30, 2011
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07/21/2011

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Sydney waiting for Sudanese Zvika Brott, Yediot, June 30 2011 African refugees go a long way to save their

lives and to rebuild their lives in new countries. Soon, they will apparently get this opportunity, but not in Israel, but rather in a country that is much, much further away: Australia. The Knesset recently began negotiation with representatives of the Australian government to solve the refugee problem by sending them to Australia. The plan: Anyone classified as a refugee will be entitled to a one-way ticket, an [Australian] passport and will be granted Australian citizenship. The new plan was developed by a committee headed by MK Danny Danon (Likud), head of the Absorption Committee, who presented the plan to Australian parliamentarians who were visiting the Knesset. The leading parliamentarian who is leading the efforts from the Australian side is MP Michael Danby, who heads one of the relevant committees there and is considered very close to Israel. Currently, Australia grants asylum to tens of thousands of refugees each year, according to a pre-set quota. These refugees, who meet criteria set by the United Nations, receive citizenship and a passport, work permits and even government financial assistance. The new plan, formulated by MK Danon, calls for Australia to reserve part of its refugee quota for refugees sent there from Israel. According to statistics presented to the Knesset, some 21,748 refugees from Eritrea who are currently in Israel meet the legal definition of refugee. In addition, there are about 8,000 Sudanese refugees, but their legal status according to UN definitions is unclear. That could make dealing with them take longer. The two sides agreed that if and when an agreement is reached, the individuals involved will not be deported from Israel, but will willingly move to Australia, where they will be able to build new lives without controversy and without the limitations they currently face in Israel. The Australian representatives agreed to push the initiative and are scheduled to return to Australia this weekend to discuss the Israeli proposal. “The place for refugees from Africa is not in Israel,” said MK Danon. “If we don’t deal with this problem, we will find ourselves in a few years with a large Muslim refugee community living among us. The proposal we’ve made would give a humanitarian answer [to the problem] without harming Israel’s fabric of life.

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