Israel Considers Only Deportation, Not Aid, for Thousands of Refugees

Haaretz.com/Channel 10 daily feature for March 26, 2008.

Haaretz Staff
Channel 10
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Haaretz Staff
Channel 10

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called the thousands of African refugees currently residing in Israel 'a tsunami' earlier this week, but the state has yet to fully acknowledge that they even exist.

Close to 3,000 refugees are estimated to have entered Israel through the border with Egypt this year alone, bringing the number of African asylum seekers in the country to more than 6,000.

The Tel Aviv municipality announced last week it would erect a new tent compound in the city to take the refugees off the streets and out of the abysmally crowded and filthy shelters in which many currently reside. But the project was stopped by the Prime Minister's Office, which may - or may not - have other plans for the refugees.

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