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Darfur in Israel

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    This shows that the movement has no popular base, Shaarani told IOL. Darfur in Israel By Ismail Kamal Kushkush, IOL Correspondent IslamOnline.net KHARTOUM
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 15, 2008
      "This shows that the movement has no popular base," Shaarani told
      IOL.


      Darfur in Israel
      By Ismail Kamal Kushkush, IOL Correspondent
      IslamOnline.net


      KHARTOUM — The decision by the rebel Sudanese Liberation Movement
      (SLM) faction of Abd al-Wahid Nur to open a liaison office in Israel
      has infuriated most Sudanese, including Darfurians.
      "This will created more divisions in Darfur," Salah al-Fadul Rijal,
      the current sultan-general of the Fur tribes, told IslamOnline.net
      over the phone from Nyala, Darfur.

      "Some tribes are now calling for a jihad against the SLM because
      they believe that they are a front for Israel in Darfur. Even some
      associated with the SLM are denouncing this act."

      Nur, himself a member of the Fur ethnic group, has announced opening
      a liaison office in Tel Aviv to help Darfurians who have sought
      refuge in Israel.


      Darfur in Focus
      He praised Israel for "for protecting Darfur youth from genocide"
      and insisted that his rebellion will change norms and break taboos
      in Sudan, especially about Israel.
      "Our vision of Sudan as we see it would allow for the opening of an
      Israeli embassy in Khartoum as long as it is in line with the
      interests of the Sudanese people," Nur told Sudan Tribune from his
      Paris residence.

      Sudan, which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel over its
      occupation of Arab lands, described Nur's decision as evidence that
      the Darfur crisis has been manipulated by foreign hands.

      Nur's SLM is one a few rebel groups that has refused to subscribe to
      the 2006 Abuja peace agreement. It has refused to date to
      participate in peace negotiations.

      The Darfur conflict erupted in February 2003 after rebel groups
      attacked government targets, accusing Khartoum of neglect and
      discrimination.

      Thousands have died because of fighting, drought and desperate
      humanitarian conditions but there are no accurate account with
      figure ranging from the government's 9,000 to the UN's 200,000.

      Infuriated

      Several Darfurian and Sudanese political parties, civil society and
      student groups have condemned Nur's decision.

      Mahmud Shaarani, a human rights lawyer and head of the Sudanese
      Center for Comparative Human Rights Studies, one of the first groups
      to bring the Darfur conflict to attention, has described Nur's move
      as "non-sensical."

      "This shows that the movement [the SLM-Nur faction] has no popular
      base," he told IOL.

      "Darfur is the most 'Islamic' province in Sudan: to contact Israel
      shows that they don't care for Darfur."

      Sayed El-Khatib, the director of the Center for Strategic Studies in
      Khartoum, was shock by the SLM move.

      "Even if people are divided on other issues, this is one issue where
      people have utterly rejected Israel because of its occupation of
      Arab lands."

      The Darfur Organizations Network, a local network of humanitarian
      NGOs, has condemned Nur's decision "especially when Israel is
      currently involved in crimes against the Palestinian people."

      A week-long Israeli onslaught has claimed the lives of more than 129
      people, including more than 40 children, toddlers and newborn
      babies, as well as 13 women.

      More than 400 Palestinians have also been injured in the Israeli air
      and ground blitz.

      Affecting Talks


      "The international community needs to bring people who really
      represent Darfur," El-Khatib told IOL.

      Some predict that Nur's decision may affect attempts by the
      international community to unite the negotiating platform of the
      nineteen Darfurian rebel groups on the one hand and peace talks with
      the Sudanese government on the other.

      "This will delay the attempts to unite these groups and open the
      door for foreign intervention," says Shaarani, the human rights
      lawyer.

      Abdalla Adam Khatir, a Darfurian writer, disagrees.

      He believes that this was an act out of "despair" on behalf of Nur
      who has not carefully calculated the political ramifications of his
      decision.

      Khatir rules out any impact on the Darfur negotiations.

      "This is a side effect of the crisis. The international community is
      working together to put a road map for peace in Darfur."

      El-Khatib, the director of the Center for Strategic Studies in
      Khartoum, believes that Nur's action, on the contrary, will help
      speed up negotiations.

      "People are going to see the real face of some the rebel leaders;
      that they have personal agendas. The international community needs
      to bring people who really represent Darfur."

      *********************************************************************

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