Darfur in Israel
- "This shows that the movement has no popular base," Shaarani told
Darfur in Israel
By Ismail Kamal Kushkush, IOL Correspondent
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
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
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.
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
"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
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.
"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
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
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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