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PHOTOS: African asylum seekers renew protests with sit-in

Protest leaders vow to continue their struggle until a solution is found. Some 1,000 maintain sit-in at Levinsky Park.

Photos by: Oren Ziv, Tali Mayer, Keren Manor, Yotam Ronen / Activestills.org

African asylum seekers staging a sit-in at Levinsky park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling to the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 2, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers staging a sit-in at Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling to the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 2, 2014. (Activestills.org)

 

A renewed asylum seeker protest entered its fourth day on Wednesday as 1,000 African asylum seekers maintained a sit-in at south Tel Aviv’s Levinsky Park.

“The struggle didn’t stop,” Walla News cited Darfuri asylum seeker and protest leader Mutasim Ali as saying, “it will continue until there is a solution.”

Things are only getting worse for asylum seekers since the protests began, he explained, citing the large number who have been sent to Israel’s ‘Holot’ detention center. Others fear they too will soon be summoned.

Read also: Photo diary from inside Israel’s ‘Holot’ detention center

Acknowledging that change will not come overnight, Ali vowed, “we will continue until there is a solution, and it’s clear to us that there will be one.”

So asylum seekers will remain in Levinsky Park, he added, “and if necessary, we have big plans.”

The latest protest comes several weeks after tens of thousands of African asylum seekers took the streets to protest Israel’s policies toward them, namely indefinite detention and a refusal to individually examine most of their asylum claims.

Read: ‘The origins and politics of Israel’s refugee debate’
Read +972’s full coverage of asylum seekers in Israel

African asylum seekers staging a sit-in at Levinsky park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling to the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 2, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers staging a sit-in at Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling on the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 2, 2014. (Activestills.org)

An African asylum seeker talking during an open-mic session during a sit-in at Levinsky park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling to the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 2, 2014. (Activestills.org)

An African asylum seeker talking during an open-mic session during a sit-in at Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling on the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 2, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers sleep on the first night of a sit-in at Levinsky park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling to the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 2, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers sleep on the first night of a sit-in at Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling on the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 2, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers wake up on the second day of a sit-in at Levinsky park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling to the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 3, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers wake up on the second day of a sit-in at Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling on the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 3, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers wake up on the second day of a sit-in at Levinsky park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling to the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 3, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers wake up on the second day of a sit-in at Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling on the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 3, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers hand our sandwiches on the first day of a sit-in at Levinsky park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling to the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 2, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers hand our sandwiches on the first day of a sit-in at Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling on the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 2, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers sleep on the second night of a sit-in at Levinsky park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling to the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 3, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers sleep on the second night of a sit-in at Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling on the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 3, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers try to warm together on the second night of a sit-in at Levinsky park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling to the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 3, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers try to warm together on the second night of a sit-in at Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling on the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 3, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers watch an Activestills photo exhibit on the second night of a sit-in at Levinsky park in Tel Aviv, February 3, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers view an Activestills photo exhibit on the second night of a sit-in at Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv, February 3, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers watch an Activestills photo exhibit on the second night of a sit-in at Levinsky park in Tel Aviv, February 3, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers watch an Activestills photo exhibit on the second night of a sit-in at Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv, February 3, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers wake up on the second day of a sit-in at Levinsky park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling to the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 3, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers wake up on the second day of a sit-in at Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling on the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 3, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers wake up on the third day of a sit-in at Levinsky park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling to the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 4, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers wake up on the third day of a sit-in at Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling on the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 4, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers wake up on the second day of a sit-in at Levinsky park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling to the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 3, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers wake up on the second day of a sit-in at Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling on the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 3, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers wake up on the third day of a sit-in at Levinsky park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling to the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 4, 2014. (Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers wake up on the third day of a sit-in at Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv, protesting against the new detention center, calling on the Israeli government to recognize their refugee rights, February 4, 2014. (Activestills.org)

 

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Wondering?

      How many refugees should Israel accept? Should they be made citizens? May Israel establish some limit? Does cost have any role in this?

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        I am going to answer you in the usual spirit of 972mag articles.

        Anyone who shows up in Israel from a poorer country should be immediately recognized as a refugee. Israel should accept as many refugees as show up at the door. They should all be made citizens and then be allowed to bring over their families. Israel has no right to establish any limit. Cost has no role in any of this and Israel is financially obligated to ensure a reasonable standard of living for them by Israeli standards.

        Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        >How many refugees should Israel accept? … May Israel establish some limit?

        Israel certainly has a right to establish a limit, which was set at 1500 refugees per year, which seems to be a decent number, given future family reunifications and such.

        Within 5 years somewhere between 53000 to 80000 came, which is far more than Israel intended to accept or able to integrate – each such migrant is believed to bring about 5 to 10 of his relatives once permanent residency is granted, which exeeds Israels needs and capabilities by a magnitude.

        >Should they be made citizens?

        Once refugee status is granted, that’s a greenlight for permanent residency and citizenship within 5 years if I remember well.

        >Does cost have any role in this?

        Oh, yeah.

        Most of all, the impact was felt by Israelis and Palestinians (citizens of the State of Palestine/PA) who were employed at kitchen, cleaning construction, packing and other low-skill labour-heavy jobs.

        Besides that, tens of thousands (literally) of ill migrants had laid a heavy burden on already impaired health system.

        Furthermore, professional educational courses are required, social housing, et cetera et cetera.

        Who is gonna pay for all that?

        In addition to the regular social package, in this particular case we are dealing with a massive security and criminal threat, which requires additional funding.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Madelyn Kent

      Kolumn69, Why be a di@$ to a sincere inquiry?

      Wondering?: Unlike Western countries, Israel doesn’t process asylum seekers through a regularly practiced determination process.

      According to asylumseekers.org:

      “In Israel, there is no way of knowing for certain who is a refugee and who is not. The Ministry of Interior refuses to individually assess applications for asylum of Sudanese and Eritrean nationals. Accusations that Africans in Israel are “work infiltrators” are baseless and are used to incite negative public opinion. Data from a number of other countries can offer an indication as to the potential status of these individuals. Eritreans and Sudanese, who comprise 90% of this population in Israel, receive relatively high recognition rates as refugees around the world. The rate of refugee status recognition for Eritrean asylum seekers is 88% and for Sudanese 64%. However, the current rate of refugee status recognition in Israel is 0.2%.”

      Check out that website for more information to your questions (the FAQ page).

      -Madelyn Kent

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        Who is being a di@$? I am answering in the spirit of most articles to be found on this website. These are the unadulterated positions of people on here even if they hide behind salami tactics, like ‘oh, we only want residency and the right to work, oh and we reject any move to ever deport them’.

        Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        >Unlike Western countries…

        Unlike Western countries, Israel a Middle-Eastern country. You must’ve noticed.

        >Israel doesn’t process asylum seekers through a regularly practiced determination process.

        Who said that Israel is obliged to process asylum seekers though a process similar to practiced by others?

        “In Israel, there is no way of knowing for certain who is a refugee and who is not.”

        “Accusations that Africans in Israel are “work infiltrators” are baseless”

        What is baseless is claims that work infiltrators are refugees.

        The situation is rather nonsensical. For Sudanese citizens it is a crime to set foot on Israeli soil, meaning that each and every Sudanese who comes to Israel becomes a political refugee. As of Eritrea – draft dodgers and army deserters are not political refugees, nor are they a persecuted group.

        >… recognition rates as refugees around the world.

        Does not mean a thing. Each state has a sovereign right to apply whichever policies are deemed necessary and are within boundaries of international law. Such as detention camps, for instance.

        Reply to Comment

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