In two separate incidents Sunday which critics say demonstrate the double standard of Egyptian and Israeli authorities, two African men were killed by Egyptian border police while crossing the border into Israel, while an Israeli who crossed the border into Egypt on a motorbike was merely detained and then returned home to Israel.According to Israeli border officials, recent flooding washed away a number of signs delineating the border between Israel and Egypt. They blame the lack of signs for the Israeli man’s decision to cross the border into Egypt. But the border officials did not attempt to make any such excuses for the two African men who were killed while crossing from Egypt into Israel.
Egyptian border officials have killed 16 people crossing into Israel from Egypt in the first three months of 2010 – this compares to 19 killed during the whole of 2009.
The killings came just after the Egyptian government passed a new law targeting ‘human traffickers’ who help refugees from Africa cross into Israel. The new law could lead to life imprisonment or a fine of up to 500 million Egyptian pounds for the crime of human trafficking.
As for the Israeli man who crossed into Egypt last week, despite sparking an international police chase and inciting alarm in the border region of Egypt, he was not killed by Egyptian border control officers. He was detained by Egyptian officials for two days, then returned home to Israel unharmed.