The waiting room 64

For years now the “unbiased” BBC has been firmly of the opinion that Israel is a racist, apartheid state.

Even when occasionally its own reports indicate the contrary, such as the one we quote from here, they fail to plant the least doubt in the mind of that institution, nor cause it to wonder why, if Israel is a racist, oppressive state, so many black refugees try to reach it for asylum and survival.

Human rights groups say Bedouin smuggling gangs are holding over a hundred African migrants for ransom in the Sinai desert. …

So a BBC reporter, Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, goes to the desert and questions some Bedouin holding such hostages. Notice that the hostages are called “migrants”, not refugees, and that Mr Wingfield-Hayes does not mention what they’re fleeing from.

“Often the Africans do not have any money, but we still have to feed and house them. Out of 30 maybe only 10 can pay. In this situation we lose money.”

As if to prove they do not mistreat their clients the smugglers then produce two young African men from out of the night.

One is barely past childhood. He tells me in broken English that his name is Amar, he is just 15 and from Eritrea.

As we talk, it rapidly becomes apparent that Amar is being held hostage..

He has been waiting with the smugglers for a month to cross to Israel but they will not let him go until his family pays up.

“How much do they want?” I ask.

“Tonight my brother called to say he can send US $2000. They are trying to make a deal,” Amar says. …

If you want to get an idea of the full horror of what can happen out in the desert you have to cross the border to Israel.

Ah, now comes the full horror. In Israel.

No? No. That’s not quite what he means. It’s just that there the refugees can speak freely about their ordeal.

African migrants get medical and legal assistance from Israeli NGOs.

There are over 30,000 African migrants in the country who have entered illegally from Egypt.

At a Tel Aviv clinic run by the group Physicians for Human Rights, there are hundreds of Eritreans, Ethiopians and Sudanese crowded into the waiting room.

One young woman from Ethiopia agrees to talk. …

“We had been told to pay $2,000, but when we got to the Sinai they [the Muslim Bedouin] said the price was $3,000,” Amira recalls. “Those who refused to pay were beaten.”

She says the men were then forced to watch as their wives were raped in front of them. …

Depressed and weakened by the beatings and dehydration, Amira’s husband died in the desert.

Doctors at the clinic are documenting more and more cases of this kind. More than a third of the migrant women they treat have been raped. A quarter of the migrants tell of being tortured.

“It is in order to extort money,” says Dan Cohen, director of Physicians for Human Rights.

“The smugglers use different methods like torturing. The women are raped and men are buried in sand and left for days to put pressure on them and make the families send money.”

More than a thousand Africans are staggering out of the desert to arrive in Israel each month, hoping to start a new life.