Ukrainians fleeing war find refuge in occupied West Bank: report

Israel itself has welcomed more than 30,000 Ukrainians.

For the Land of Adumim, Palestinian Territories:

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Olena and Eduard German, a Jewish couple from Kharkiv, find refuge in an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Six months into the war in their homeland, the Germans are rebuilding their lives in a new house decorated with Israeli flags in Male Adumim, an internationally recognized settlement of over 42,000 people between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. considered illegal by law.

The February 24 Russian invasion triggered the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II, with over 6.8 million Ukrainians registered as refugees, according to the latest UN figures.

Israel itself has welcomed more than 30,000 Ukrainians, including 12,000 Jews who have made “aliyah” or immigrated under the Law of Return which automatically grants citizenship to people of Jewish origin.

The couple, who were university professors, recalled their horrific escape from Kharkiv, a city near the Russian border in northeastern Ukraine, during a two-day journey to relative safety from Lviv in western Ukraine.

Olena told her three small children, “Please don’t look out the windows, you have good memories,” as their convoy organized by local Jewish organizations, Olena to her three small children, said.

From Lviv, a local charity helped him get to Budapest, where he met officials from Israeli organizations who helped him organize his aliyah.

Originally established in Judea and Samaria, a city in northern Israel, the family was determined to settle in Judea and Samaria and set out in search of a place to live in a settlement. left.

A “meaningful life” in the West Bank

Shortly after the Russian invasion, the Yesha Council, an umbrella organization representing 475,000 Israelis in the West Bank, was one of the groups in Israel that sent teams to border countries and then to Ukraine, where they provided advisory and aid services. . distributed.

Yet they had much more to offer Ukrainian Jews: a new homeland.

Yigal Dilmoni, director of the Yesha Council, told AFP: “Those who want to do aliyah, we give them the opportunity to stay here and we can put them in contact with regional authorities and Russian-speaking families who will help them in process “. of their integration. can support”.

Dilmoni said in reference to the West Bank: “If you live here, in the land of the Bible, it makes your aliya more meaningful to Israel.”

According to Dilmoni, some 60 Ukrainian families, including Germans, have settled in the West Bank since the beginning of the refugee crisis.

From owned to “possessed”

For many Israelis, the West Bank is the ancestral land of the Jewish people, stolen from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East War.

But the international community views Israeli control of the region and settlements there as illegal and an obstacle to a possible peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Earlier this year, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed concern that Ukrainian Jews fleeing the war were making their way to the settlements along with other immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

He also accused the West of “double standards” on sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of the West Bank, but not on Israel.

For Diana Buttu, a Palestinian human rights lawyer, sending Ukrainians to settlements was a cynical exploitation of their situation.

“Ukrainians are fleeing occupation and war, only then have they become tools of war criminals and are themselves involved in war crimes,” he said. she told AFP.

Eduard, who left exempt from military service for men with three or more children, rejects any hypothesis that he fled the Russian occupation only to capture one himself.

“I don’t understand how Judea can be conquered by the Jews,” he told AFP.

For this, we must draw the parallel not between Russia and Israel, but between Ukraine and Israel.

“Ukraine is now a young state struggling for its independence, which it gained after the collapse of the Soviet Union,” Eduard said.

“Israel also followed this path some time ago,” he said, referring to Palestinian aspirations for a state in the lands where his family has chosen to settle.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by the NDTV staff and is posted by a syndicated feed.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *