Israel won’t respond to ‘crazy’ accusations

By Aaron Klein

The Sudanese government yesterday accused Israel of supporting rebels in the troubled Darfur region in western Sudan, but Israeli officials say the accusations are “so crazy” they don’t feel the need to respond.

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail told reporters in Cairo his government had “information that confirms media reports of Israeli support.” Ismail, who is participating in a summit of Arab foreign ministers to discuss the Darfur crisis, said he was “sure the next few days will reveal a lot of Israeli contacts with the rebels,” the Washington Times reported.

Israeli officials said they regard the comments as another attempt to divert attention from an Arab conflict and blame Israel for something it has nothing to do with. The foreign ministry had no response to the Sudanese accusation.

Ismail pointed out that the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, had “started his talk about the Israeli barrier [at the U.N.] by speaking on Darfur and what the Arabs are doing there, as well as moving the Jewish communities to spread what is being said about Darfur.”

Ismail claimed Israel had “recently become active in entering the Darfur issue from different sides, whether through its active presence in [neighboring] Eritrea, or through its active diplomatic missions.”

Fighting in Darfur and raids by Arab militias known as Janjaweed have killed at least 30,000 black Africans and displaced more than 1 million others, precipitating a humanitarian crisis the U.N. has called the world’s worst.

The U.N. said in a report released in Geneva Friday that it had “overwhelming evidence” the Sudanese Government had worked with militias in the campaign of murder and rape which the U.S. Congress called genocide last month.

“It is beyond doubt that the Government of Sudan is responsible for extrajudicial and summary executions of large numbers of people over the last several months in the Darfur region”, U.N. human rights investigator, Asma Jahangir said.

The U.N. Security Council had given Sudan 30 days to disarm and apprehend militia members or face sanctions or other punitive measures.