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Syrian crisis: Israelis quibble as Europe, Australia pledge to take in refugees

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Jerusalem: Opposing views surfaced when Israeli politicians on Sunday opined on how Israel should grapple with the Syrian refugees’ crisis.

Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister, said while Israel has helped Syria in the last four years amid the Syrian civil war, it could not take in Syrian refugees into its territory, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Israel is not indifferent to the human tragedy of the refugees from Syria and Africa. We have already cared for approximately 1,000 wounded people from fighting in Syria and helped them rehabilitate their lives. But Israel is a small country that lacks demographic and geographic depth, therefore, we must control our borders,” Netanyahu said on Sunday.

Israel began fence building on Sunday on its eastern border with Jordan, down from the town of Eilat up to northern Israel and the Golan Heights. Netanyahu’s statements refute the views opined by head of Israeli opposition bloc in the parliament, Isaac Herzog.

He called on Israeli government to open doors on Syrian refugees over the weekend. Herzog, the chief of the Labour party, accused the government of forgetting the lessons of Jewish history.

Cyprus rescues 114 refugees

In a separate incident, authorities concerned rescued 114 Syrian refugees which included 30 children and five infants from a fishing boat that drifted off the Cyprus shores. The officials quoted on Sunday.

An official statement revealed that an overnight rescue operation was managed after a cargo ship alerted the Cypriot Search and Rescue Centre on Saturday night that it had received a signal from the drifting fishing boat seeking help, Xinhua reported.

It continued to add that aircraft and vessels of the Cypriot navy and police took part in the operation, which was completed early Sunday morning. The Syrians were brought to the Southeastern port city of Larnaca and were received by medical teams and social welfare workers.

“All necessary measures are being taken for the welfare of the refugees in line with European Union directives,” said Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos, who headed the operation.

Britain to take 15,000 refugees, plans strike

Britain will accept 15,000 refugees from Syria and is considering military action against IS militants within syrian_refugee_crisis

one month, media reported on Sunday. In a plan to tackle the humanitarian crisis, Britain is considering launching a military and intelligence offensive against human traffickers, reported Xinhua news agency.

The country is not joining the system, but “we will show that we are pulling our weight”, a government official said.

On September 4, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the country will provide resettlement to “thousands” more refugees in response to the deteriorating humanitarian crisis.

Over 3,500 arrive in Munich

More than 3,500 Syrian refugees have reached Munich from Hungary via Austria, and as many as 3,000 are expected to arrive on Sunday.

German police authorities said three special trains with refugees are expected to reach on Sunday, Xinhua reported.

“We prepare ourselves for 5,000 to 7,000 refugees,” said Christoph Hillenbrand, head of district government of Upper Bavaria.

Australia to accept more refugees: PM Abbott

Tony_Abbott_-_2010On Sunday, Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott announced that he is prepared to accept more refugees from war-torn Syria, but within the current humanitarian intake.

“No! We are proposing to take more people from this region as part of our very substantial commitment. Our focus will be on families and women and children, especially of persecuted minorities, who have sought refuge in camps neighbouring Syria and Iraq,” he was quoted as saying.

In the last financial year, Australia settled more than 4,400 people from Syria and Iraq, Abbott said, adding that the overall refugee intake will increase to 18,750 by 2018.

Next Story

UN Appeals to Aid Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh

Rohingya Refugee Crisis Has Bangladesh, UN Calling for Help

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Rohingya refugees
Rohingya refugees wait in an area following a boat capsizing accident, in Teknaf. VOA

By Lisa Schlein

The U.N. refugee and migration agencies are jointly appealing for $877 million to aid 855,000 Rohingya refugees, most of whom fled violence and persecution from Myanmar three years ago, and more than 444,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis hosting them.

More than half of the money will provide vital services, including food, shelter, clean water and sanitation.  The rest of the appeal will be used for health, protection, education, site management, energy and environmental needs.

Shahriar Alam of Bangladesh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says his government has welcomed this large exiled population within its midst.  But he acknowledges their presence poses challenges and that the solution to the plight of the Rohingya refugees is repatriation to Myanmar when that becomes possible. But this is unlikely to happen, he says, without the vigorous support of the International community.

“We expect that U.N. member countries to do more and work closely and do everything possible to put pressure on Myanmar to take their citizenship back in a manner, a repatriation that is safe, voluntary, and dignified,” Alam said.

Rohingya refugees
Coast guards escort Rohingya refugees following a boat capsizing accident, in Teknaf. VOA

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi agrees that Bangladesh deserves support for hosting nearly one million Rohingya.  He laments the short attention span of the media and the international community who quickly move from one crisis to another.

As a consequence, he says the Rohingya have become largely forgotten.  He agrees with the Government of Bangladesh that the solution continues to be in Myanmar.

“The problem is that things that need to be done there to create conditions for refugees to return from Bangladesh into Myanmar are too slow or not happening yet–freedom of movement, return of internally displaced people that are in camps in Rakhine State,” Grandi said.

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Grandi says those who return should be granted housing, land, and property rights and be given the education and training they need to be able to work.  But the most fundamental step of all, he says, is for the Rohingya to be given a path to citizenship.

The Rohingya who have lived in Myanmar for generations were stripped of their citizenship in 1982. (VOA)