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Netanyahu to Gaza flotilla: Did you mean to sail to Syria?

Netanyahu publishes letter to flotilla participants in which he states there is no blockade, while at the same time declaring that Israel will prevent them from reaching Gaza. 

UPDATE 7:27 A.M.: The IDF intercepted the Marianne ship early morning Monday and and began towing it to the Ashdod Port. No violence or injuries reported.

The “Freedom Flotilla III” is due to approach the Gaza coastline in a matter of hours, sometime overnight Sunday. Its declared mission is to non-violently challenge Israel’s nine-year blockade of the Strip by bringing in medical equipment and other humanitarian aid. It is not expected to actually reach Gaza, as Israel plans to stop the four boats, just as it has done in previous attempts in 2011 and the infamous Mavi Marmara in 2010, which ended with the killing of nine people on board.

Prime Minister Netanyahu published a letter Sunday night that he intends to present to all the participants, in which he sarcastically mocks those aboard (my translation):

The letter goes on to detail all the merchandise Israel allows through into Gaza and then insists: “There is no blockade of Gaza. You are welcome to transfer humanitarian aid through Israel. We are not, however, willing to allow weapons to enter Gaza and reach terror groups, as has been done in the past via the sea.”

Netanyahu states that there is no blockade while at the same time declaring that Israel will prohibit the flotilla from reaching Gaza. It is the IDF’s naval blockade of the Strip – deemed legitimate by international law – that enables Israel to force the ships to revert to docking in the port in Ashdod. It is the blockade that allows Israel to shoot at Gaza fisherman on a regular basis. Also, what does the blockade of 1.8 million Palestinians have to do with Syria?

The 2015 flotilla is comprised of four boats, which include 48 human rights activists, journalists, artists, and political figures representing 17 countries. Dr. Bassel Ghattas, a member of Knesset with the Joint List is on board, as is Dr. Moncef Marzouki, former President of Tunisia, who came to power after the 2011 popular uprising.

Ghattas sent a letter earlier Sunday addressed to Netanyahu, calling on him to allow the flotilla to reach Gaza. His participation caused an uproar in the Knesset earlier this week, with several MKs calling for his citizenship to be revoked,...

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IDF soldiers killed Palestinian teen who posed no danger, report finds

Israeli soldiers ambushed three Palestinian teenagers with live ammunition, killing one, despite the fact that they posed no immediate threat. Neither the soldiers nor their commanders will face any charges.

An IDF commander ordered soldiers to fire live ammunition directly at Palestinian teenagers who broke through part of the separation fence, resulting in the killing of 14-year-old Yousef a-Shawamreh last year. This, despite the fact they they posed no immediate danger, according to a B’Tselem report released Wednesday criticizing the military’s decision to close the investigation without indictment.

On March 19, 2014, three Palestinians – an 18-year-old and two minors, one of them a-Shawamreh – walked up to the separation barrier in the area of the village of Deir al-‘Asal al-Foqa, southwest of Hebron. The IDF knows that certain parts of the barrier are often crossed by Palestinian youth who go to pick edible gundelia plants from their families’ land on the other side.

B’Tselem originally thought they crossed through an opening but later learned from military footage (video below) that they cut through the metal fence that the military sealed the previous day. This means that the IDF knew that whomever tried to cross that day would have to first sabotage the fence. That person would then be deemed “a fence saboteur” – and by definition suspected of committing an offense serious enough to warrant carrying out a suspect-apprehension procedure, including firing at below the knees.

According to B’Tselem, the investigators did not ask the commander why he had decided, by sealing the gaps in the fence, to incriminate anyone who crossed it as “suspected of a dangerous offense.”

According to the military, the soldiers in the field called out to the boys to stop, firing two warning shots in the air before firing at 14-year-old a-Shawamreh with a shot that should have been directed at his legs, but which they claim accidentally hit his waist. The Palestinian teens who were with a-Shawamreh testified that they didn’t realize there were any warning shots but rather were immediately fired upon.

B’Tselem slammed the Military Advocate General’s decision to close the investigation without serving any indictments. ”No apparent attempt was made to reconcile the contradicting versions given by the suspects and by witnesses, and the responsibility of the commanders who decided to mount an armed ambush at the spot was utterly ignored.”

Whether or not the open-fire regulations directed by...

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Israel's culture minister is turning artists into enemies

Miri Regev’s attempts to pull funding from artists who ‘delegitimize’ Israel expose the lengths to which this government will go to try and silence its critics.

Last week Israel’s new Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev threatened to pull state funding from a children’s theater in Jaffa after its manager, Norman Issa, an actor with the Haifa Theater, refused to perform in a West Bank settlement. She claimed that as opposed to her, Issa is not an advocate for coexistence.

After it provoked some backlash, she went on the defensive and stated that because her Likud party won 30 Knesset seats, and the “Left” (read: Labor/Zionist Camp) won only 20 seats, that she was at liberty to do as she pleases with state funds for the arts.

This kind of talk shows that Regev has a total lack of understanding of what it means to be an elected official, and speaks volumes of the current leadership’s understanding of how a democratically-elected public servant is supposed to act.

But here is the real kicker:

Regev’s comments raise serious doubts about her ability to tolerate dissent and freedom of expression, but her use of the word “delegitimize” gave me pause and is worth elaborating on. The word has been used over and over again by Prime Minister Netanyahu in recent years when discussing the boycott movement. Actually, he used it most recently in relation to the Palestinian effort to suspend Israel from FIFA.

It is worth noting that Regev — who previously referred to African asylum seekers as a “cancer” — chose to use this word during an internal Israeli discussion over state funding for cultural institutions. It is no coincidence. It is because she sees Israeli citizens whose artistic work or personal views challenge the status quo of Israel’s Jewish nationalist hegemony as “delegitimizers” — whether they are Palestinian or Jewish. That they pay taxes, follow the law and fulfill all their civic duties does not matter; if they are seen to be “delegitimizing” Israel, their work may be under threat of not being funded.

Last September, I wrote an op-ed in the The New York Times about how Israel was silencing dissent. In it I described how after so many years of Israeli repression of Palestinians, “the transition to targeting ‘one of your own’ isn’t so difficult. Now it is the few Jewish Israelis who speak the language of...

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BDS is being used to stifle dissent in Israel

Israeli members of Knesset, along with journalists, commentators and others are taking advantage of the boycott movement in order to delegitimize Israeli human rights groups at home.

As all eyes in Israel obsessively turned their attention to BDS, a subplot emerged that has gone by the wayside — one that I believe is the real story regarding the boycott movement’s current role within Israeli society.

Last week Israel’s Foreign Ministry called on Switzerland to pull its funding from an event put on by Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, in an effort to force the organization to cancel its upcoming exhibit featuring soldiers’ testimonies of IDF human rights violations, which is supposed to open in Zurich this month. In response to the exhibit, newly-appointed Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said: “The Foreign Ministry will continue its extensive actions against organizations that are acting against Israel, at home and abroad.” Gilad Erdan, the new minister for strategic affairs who has been tasked with combatting the Israel boycott, has called Breaking the Silence an organization that “leads the delegitimization campaign against Israeli soldiers.”

Also last week, in one of her first acts as new minister of culture and sport, Miri Regev pulled the ministry’s sponsorship from a solo dance show that incorporates footage taken by B’Tselem volunteers in the West Bank. Entitled “Archive,” Israeli artist and choreographer Arkadi Zaides mimics the physical expressions and movements of Israeli settlers and soldiers, projected onto a large screen behind him. The show highlights their violent and domineering body language, as seen from the perspective of Palestinians behind the camera. The show, which first launched in Europe and has already taken the stage in Israel, no longer bears the Culture Ministry logo. Now Regev is considering pulling its funding.

While the two incidents may seem minor and insignificant, they are a sharp indication of this government’s crackdown on dissent and independent art.

It is, after all, no coincidence that this all happened on the same week as the eruption of the BDS debate here in Israel. This is the product of a concerted effort by the Right, which includes mainstream journalists and commentators, to conflate any boycott efforts — whether by FIFA, Orange, student unions or settlement product-labeling Europeans — with the work of Israeli human rights groups such as B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence (two organizations that have absolutely nothing to do with boycott of any kind).

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Israel Supreme Court: Bedouin have no indigenous rights

A recent Supreme Court ruling refusing to recognize Bedouin land rights sets a legal precedent for the state to endlessly appropriate Palestinian lands. 

Israel’s Supreme Court made a significant ruling this week, setting a precedent for the state to approve the expropriation of Palestinian land in future cases, specifically inside Israel.

The court rejected a five-year old petition filed by the Al Uqbi family to recognize its ownership over a large plot of land in Israel’s Negev/Naqab Desert. The land also includes the unrecognized village Al Arakib, which is still in its own legal battle for recognition from the stae.

According to Attorney Michael Sfard, who represented the Ul Uqbi family, no one is arguing with the fact that the family has been living in this area for centuries. However, the ruling does not recognize the family’s ownership of the land since it defines it as consisting of stone houses and written deeds as proof of ownership. Bedouin have traditionally lived in tent structures and their ownership was passed down orally, such that they do not fit that definition. As Sfard points out, the judgement uses “cultural bias to uphold Western notions of what a ‘human settlement’ is.”

The petition called for recognition of ownership over the family’s historical lands, from which they were expelled in the 1950s. The ruling, which went largely un-reported in the Israeli media, effectively means the state does not recognize Bedouin rights to the land, clearing the path for it to continue to legalize the expropriation of Palestinian lands, whether inside Israel or in the West Bank.

The decision not only fails to acknowledge the distinct historical and cultural heritage of this Bedouin community, it is also a major contradiction: while Bedouin property rights are not recognized, the Zionist purchase of land from Bedouin before the state was established is. If the court recognizes land deals made with the Bedouin, it necessarily implies that it recognizes their ownership. But according to Sfard, the court simply disregarded this fact. Israeli officials often claim that the country was established through the legitimate purchase of land from Arabs, not through forceful expropriation.

“The bottom line: hundreds of thousands of Bedouin have lived for centuries in the Negev, but as the court astonishingly said, the Bedouin way of life does not create any legal rights in the lands they lived on and cultivated for generations,” Michael Sfard says.

While the village of Al Arakib’s...

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Why is Matti Friedman so mad at Breaking the Silence?

A former AP reporter who crusades against the international media’s alleged anti-Israel bias takes aim at the Israeli NGO of veteran soldiers in an article that is long on … well, length. But short on substance. 

By Mairav Zonszein and Lisa Goldman

Earlier this month, the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence released a report about the army’s 50-day incursion into Gaza last summer. Titled “This is How We Fought in Gaza 2014,” it is comprised of more than 60 oral testimonies collected from soldiers and officers. The overriding theme of the eyewitness accounts is that soldiers going into Gaza were given unprecedentedly loose rules of engagement. Many of the soldiers say those orders contradicted the rules and code of ethics they were taught in training, which mandate doing everything possible to avoid harming civilians or their property.

In Israel, the response to the soldiers’ testimonies has ranged from indifference to ambivalence to outright slander. The higher political and military echelons didn’t even acknowledge the report, while the Hebrew media was largely ambivalent. For example, even Haaretz military analyst Amos Harel writes (Hebrew) that despite the organization’s agenda, which he defines vaguely as “leftist,” its claims should not be ignored.

The slander has come from people who, rather than respond to the report itself, try to delegitimize Breaking the Silence by discrediting the soldiers who gave testimonies and questioning their integrity and motives.

A journalist turned attack dog

Matti Friedman, a Canadian-Israeli who was once a reporter for the AP bureau in Jerusalem, now falls on the slandering side of the spectrum. Friedman recently launched his own one-man crusade against what he seems to think is an international conspiracy to churn out gratuitously critical reporting on Israel. He has written several long articles to this effect, and been invited to speak on the topic at events hosted by Jewish organizations in England and the United States.

Friedman’s analysis of the Breaking the Silence report, published in Mosaic Magazine on Thursday, can be boiled down to three main points:

1.    The BtS report is propaganda, not journalism;

2.    The testimonies not only fail to show loose rules of engagement, but in fact support the army’s claim that it did everything possible to avoid civilian injuries;

3.    BtS is dishonest about its political agenda, which Friedman suggests is nefarious.

None of these claims is supported...

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IDF maps village of Susya as forced displacement looms

The IDF’s Civil Administration prepares for the evacuation of the West Bank village in the wake of a High Court decision to uphold the rejection a zoning plan.

A Civil Administration inspector accompanied by soldiers arrived Sunday morning in Susya to take photos and measurements of village structures, further stoking fears among its Palestinian residents that they will be expelled from their homes at any moment.

Nasser Nawajeh, a resident, longtime activist and volunteer with B’Tselem, took the following photo of the official, who goes by the name Carlos.

Israel’s High Court of Justice on Tuesday gave the army a green light to demolish the Palestinian village and forcibly transfer its residents out of Area C of the West Bank. The court refused to issue an injunction that would freeze any demolitions in the south Hebron Hills village before the village’s case is even heard and ruled on by the highest court of the land.

 Justice Noam Solberg rejected the injunction requested by the residents of Khirbet Susya, who are represented by Rabbis for Human Rights. The case is a petition against the IDF’s Civil Administration’s decision to reject a master plan submitted by the village, and against the Israeli army’s plans to demolish the village and forcibly relocate its residents out of Area C. The Israeli army can now destroy the village at any moment, even though the case has yet to be heard by the High Court; a date for hearing has not even been set.

The Israeli army has issued repeated demolition orders in the village on the basis of illegal construction and zoning. The only reason Palestinians in the south Hebron Hills build illegally, however, is because Israeli authorities have never granted them building permits or any planning rights. The Israeli army rejects 90 percent of Palestinian planning requests in Area C, and most villages in the area face almost identical restrictions and demolition threats. Settlements for Jewish Israelis, however, continuously pop up in the area, including an adjacent settlement that also named itself Susya.

The 340 residents of Khirbet Susya have for years been fighting in court for the right to stay on their land. Susya is located in the south Hebron Hills, in Area C of the West Bank, which according to the Oslo Accords is under full Israeli control. Its residents were first expelled from their lands in 1986 after the Jewish settlement of Susya was established and an archaeological...

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Palestinian village of Susya faces imminent demolition

Since the Israeli army evicted residents of Susya from their village in order to establish an archeological site in its place, the Israeli military has refused to issue the Palestinians any building permits. Now, the High Court has given the army a green light to demolish the village and forcefully transfer its residents.

Israel’s High Court of Justice on Tuesday gave the army a green light to demolish the Palestinian village of Susya and forcibly transfer its residents out of Area C of the West Bank. The court refused to issue an injunction that would freeze any demolitions in the south Heron Hills village before the village’s case is even heard and ruled on by the highest court of the land.

Justice Noam Solberg rejected the injunction requested by the residents of Khirbet Susya, who are represented by Rabbis for Human Rights. The case is a petition against the IDF’s Civil Administration’s decision to reject a master plan submitted by the village, and against the Israeli army’s plans to demolish the village and forcibly relocate its residents out of Area C. The Israeli army can now destroy the village at any moment, even though the case has yet to be heard by the High Court; a date for hearing has not even be set.

The Israeli army has issued repeated demolition orders in the village on the basis of illegal construction and zoning. The only reason Palestinians in the south Hebron Hills build illegally, however, is because Israeli authorities have never granted them building permits or any planning rights. The Israeli army rejects 90 percent of Palestinian planning requests in Area C, and most villages in the area face almost identical restrictions and demolition threats. Settlements for Jewish Israelis, however, continuously pop up in the area, including an adjacent settlement that also named itself Susya.

The 340 residents of Khirbet Susya have for years been fighting in court for the right to stay on their land. Susya is located in the south Hebron Hills, in Area C of the West Bank, which according to the Oslo Accords is under full Israeli control. Its residents were first expelled from their lands in 1986 after the Jewish settlement of Susya was established and an archaeological site built on its former location. The Palestinian villagers then moved the village to their adjacent agricultural lands and have been fighting to subsist there ever...

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Israelis' surrogate mothers in Nepal are no laughing matter

The precarious situation of surrogate mothers in Nepal carrying babies for Israelis, as well as the ethical questions surrounding surrogacy in the developing world, should be treated with the utmost seriousness. But what does Israel’s interior minister do? He laughs at them. 

Saturday’s horrific earthquake in Nepal has dominated the news here in Israel, not only because Nepal is a popular travel destination and around 2,000 Israeli backpackers were airlifted out of the area in recent days, but primarily because of the 100 or so surrogate mothers carrying babies for Israeli gay couples and single parents.

Only heterosexual couples can legally turn to surrogacy in Israel, so homosexual couples look to other countries – and generally look eastward to India and now Nepal, since it is much cheaper than the West.

Israel announced Sunday it had decided to airlift 26 newborn babies born to surrogate mothers (they all arrived by Tuesday), but it is not so clear what will happen to the women there who are still pregnant with surrogate babies, living in the aftermath of the quake.

According to a report in TIME, there are around 100 Indian women in Nepal who are surrogates for Israelis. The Justice Ministry decided to authorize the airlift of only a handful of these women, those past their 35th week of pregnancy. It is unclear how many are expected to arrive, but some reports say four women. The Interior Ministry spokesperson was asked for details and comment, but responded that “the matter is still being worked out so no information is being provided at this time.”

The story has turned the spotlight in the Israeli media on the need to improve the legal ability for surrogacy in Israel and the ethics of seeking surrogacy abroad, since most if not all the surrogate women are poor and acting out of desperation. (An informative article on the matter in Haaretz by Aeyal Gross can be found here).

It raises difficult questions about what it means for an underprivileged woman to rent out her womb. The images of babies being flown into Israel with their relieved dads, while the women who carried and birthed them are left behind, have been especially cruel.

This sad and sensitive situation was exacerbated by Interior Minister Gilad Erdan, who gave an interview on the matter on Channel 10′s evening news show, “London and Kirschenbaum,” on Monday. I subtitled a short...

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Uganda denies agreement with Israel on asylum seekers

The Ugandan government officially denies claims it has signed an agreement with Israel, whereby it would absorb forcefully deported Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers. The Israeli government has resisted calls to divulge the details of the agreements it had allegedly signed with ‘third countries.’

Government officials in Uganda deny there is any agreement with Israel on the deportation of asylum seekers into the country, according to the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, citing Ugandan daily New Vision. In the report, published Tuesday, Uganda’s Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs James Mugume is quoted as saying: “Neither the minister [of internal affairs] nor myself has any idea about it. We do not have any arrangement for receiving refugees from Israel.”

Nearly a month ago the Israeli government announced its intention to begin forcefully deporting Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to “third countries” - which are assumed to be Rwanda and Uganda, although Israeli authorities have yet to reveal any information. Refugee organizations have continuously voiced concern that these third countries do not guarantee the safety of asylum seekers and have called on Israel to be divulge the details of these obscure agreements.

Last week, at least three Eritrean asylum seekers who lived in Israel and were deported to a third country were executed by Islamic State militants in Libya. And on Tuesday, Ali Rasta, another Eritrean asylum seeker who had been an inmate in Israel’s Holot detention center, was reportedly murdered in Khartoum. According to asylum seeker activist and Holot inmate Mutasim Ali, he was forced to leave Israel for a third country, and then ended up in Sudan.

“The Ugandan government’s sweeping denial is disconcerting, and it illustrates the gap between Israel’s promises and the reality on the ground,” the Hotline for Migrants and Refugees said in a statement. The organization said it has testimonies of asylum seekers who were forced to leave Israel for Uganda and then realized they had no legal status there – contrary to what Israel had informed them.

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Zoological terrorism? Israelis up in arms over 'Palestine Gazelle'

A Facebook post livid at the fact that the Palestine Gazelle at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo is being listed as such has been making some waves on Israeli social media today. The status was posted by Israeli right-wing protofascist Yoav Eliassi, who goes by “The Shadow” (and was involved in violence against leftists protesting the Gaza war last summer in Tel Aviv).

The Shadow posted a photo of the sign at the zoo on his Facebook page and next to it the caption: ”At the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo!!!!!!”  (By the way it says “Israeli Gazelle” in Hebrew and just “Palestinian” in Arabic).

The kicker? “Palestine Gazelle” is the animal’s scientifically accurate name.

The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo explained as much in a response on his Facebook page:

I don’t know what is sadder (or dumber): The fact that any human being would see a problem with this, or that the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo felt the need to respond to this idiocy.

This is truly a low point in Israeli society. An Israeli nationalist so filled with animosity that he is picking a bone with science, with history, spreading not only hate but stupidity. And a national zoo so concerned with the idea that Israelis  may begin boycotting it for using the word “Palestine” that it feels the need to respond. (The Facebook page has a bunch of comments calling The Shadow out for being a moron, but also many agreeing with him).

In some ways, this Facebook status perfectly captures the atmosphere in Israel of 2015. Next thing you know The Shadow will organize a protest at the Jerusalem Post offices for once being called the Palestine Post.  Or maybe the next government will propose a bill to ban utterance of the word “Palestine.”

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Every day is Holocaust Day in Israel

Netanyahu talks about Iran every single day. Today was the one day he shouldn’t have. 

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. But if someone had landed here from another planet, they wouldn’t necessarily catch on. They might find it hard to  commemorate the Jewish lives taken in Europe during World War II, and instead be preoccupied with Iran’s nuclear program.

On Thursday night, as businesses closed throughout the country, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum. Standing on the podium, among the few survivors that are still alive, he took the opportunity to talk about Iran, and why the deal being formulated with world powers to curb its nuclear program is a bad one:

Never mind that this is an inaccurate and unconvincing comparison. Never mind that everyone on this planet already knows Netanyahu’s position on Iran and the agreement regarding its nuclear program. Never mind that Iran’s support for terrorist groups is bad enough without the need to compare it to Nazism. Netanyahu’s politicization of the Holocaust in an insult to all its victims and those affected by it. As if the genocide of Jews wasn’t a singular and horrible enough historical event that deserves its own place.

At the same event, President Rivlin subtly but explicitly countered Netanyahu’s fear mongering approach, trying to dissociate the Holocaust from the State of Israel and any of the state’s current politics.

Of all days, today should have been the one day in the entire year that Netanyahu took a break from his crusade against the Iran deal, and allowed the Holocaust its rightful place in the state’s collective memory.

As my colleague Orly Noy joked on her Facebook page, “Netanyahu managed to introduce a new holiday into the Israeli calendar: Memorial Day for Iran and Fallen Heroes.”

With Netanyahu, we don’t need Holocaust Day, because thanks to him every day here is Holocaust Day.

Related:
We can no longer deny the Holocaust of Libya’s Jews
Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel: Something’s missing
How Israel can stop a nuclear arms race in the Middle East

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Israel to indefinitely imprison asylum seekers who refuse deportation

In a move unprecedented in Western countries, Israel’s outgoing interior minister announces plan to compel asylum seekers to leave the country. Israel’s High Court has repeatedly struck down laws that authorized the indefinite detention of asylum seekers.

Asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea will face deportation to third countries or face unlimited imprisonment in Israel under a new Interior Ministry policy set to be implemented in the coming days. Israel will provide asylum seekers 30 days notice, at the end of which, if one refuses to leave, they will face indefinite detention, according to a statement released by the ministry’s Population, Immigration and Border Authority on Tuesday.

The two countries are said to be Rwanda and Uganda, though Israel has not divulged the information. Up until now, Israel has exerted pressure on asylum seekers to leave by holding them in the Holot detention facility and offering them cash to leave, either back to their home country or a third country. But it always required their written consent. The new policy would be entirely coercive: either they leave, or face indefinite imprisonment.

Six NGOs, among them the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, Amnesty International and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, slammed the move as illegal, dangerous and yet expected.

“The initiative of the Ministry of Interior exposes what we’ve all known [...] – there is no such thing as ‘voluntary departure.’ The decision of the minister of interior and attorney general removes the disguises the State employed before and makes it clear that Israel will work to deport asylum seekers in any way possible, including illegal ones,” the organizations said in a statement.

According to a report in Haaretz on Tuesday, there is no precedent in the Western world for this type of deportation of asylum seekers to third countries. Israel is a signatory of the UNHCR 1951 Refugee Convention, which forbids compelling asylum seekers to leave a country with the threat of imprisonment.

Outgoing Interior Minister Gilad Erdan said the move will “encourage infiltrators to leave the borders of the state of Israel in an honorable and safe way.” Human rights groups, however, say Rwanda and Uganda are not safe countries for asylum seekers leaving Israel, and that they have no legal status or protection once arriving, ultimately resulting in them leaving for yet another country.

It was not clear if the new measure would be implemented before...

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