Israel to aid Darfur refugees?

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has prepared an aid plan for the refugees of Darfur which it will submit to the cabinet for approval in the coming days. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told Haaretz that the ministry’s aid plan is intended to help relieve the “intolerable situation” in Darfur. “As I said when I spoke before the United Nations last year, there are certain places in which the world must act.”

Livni admitted Israel’s proposed contribution is small in comparison to the needs of the refugees. “It’s not a lot and and the effect won’t be too dramatic, but it’s imperative that we take action on this,” she said.

The package will include $4 million in donations to the UNHCR, UNICEF, World Food Program and Red Cross; $800,000 of food, medication and water desalination equipment to the Central African Republic (which maintains diplomatic relations with Israel) for the treatment of refugees from Darfur; and smaller sums for Israeli NGOs operating in Sudan’s neighboring states. The program will also include encouraging private-sector fund-raising efforts in Israel for Darfur relief. (Haaretz, May 12)

It is, we hope, unnecessary to point out the irony.

See our last posts on Darfur, Israel and the politics of the Sahel.