African asylum seekers converge on the Holot 'open' detention center to demand the release of those held there, and call for a comprehensive solution for their community. Photos and text by: Yotam Ronen, Oren Ziv and Tali Mayer/Activestills.org African asylum seekers from different cities in Israel held a two-day protest outside Holot detention center in the Negev, on February 17-18, 2014. Around 500 African immigrants gathered outside the center to call on Israeli authorities for the release of all people imprisoned under the Prevention of Infiltration Law, and find a comprehensive solution for the asylum seeker community. The detainees of Holot joined the demonstration…Read More... | 15 Comments
The Israeli media gave almost no airtime or print space to two non-violent protests this week, in the Jordan Valley and south Tel Aviv's Levinsky Park. For Haggai Matar, it's been a heartbreaking sight. So they destroyed Ein Hijleh. This small protest camp in the Jordan Valley, built by hundreds of non-violent Palestinian activists and kept alive for a week of resistance against plans to annex the valley to Israel and deprive a future Palestinian state of its eastern border, was been evicted over night by army and police forces. For Israelis – it won't be missed. The whole "Salt…Read More... | 14 Comments
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 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…Read More... | 6 Comments
In December 2013 Israel began populating the Holot detention facility for African asylum seekers, first with those who were held in other prisons and gradually with those who were until now living in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities. The detainees at Holot are being held there without charge until they can be deported or such a time as their asylum claims are processed, which for many detainees means indefinitely. Ahmad, who asked that we not use his last name in order to protect him from retribution by prison authorities, escaped from Darfur five and a half years ago and…Read More... | 24 Comments
At the same time that a group of prominent African-American journalists and artists was touring Israel and Palestine earlier this month, African asylum seekers in Tel Aviv were taking to the streets to demand basic rights and refugee status. For rapper-activist Jasiri X, being so close to the refugee protests compelled him to come and see their struggle with his own eyes, he explained. “It’s been heartbreaking," JasiriX told Israel Social TV at Levinski Park in south Tel Aviv. Media reports on Israel/Palestine are often whitewashed versions of the real story, he added, “so to come here and see and hear…Read More... | 3 Comments
An in-depth look at the historical and political developments that shaped Israel’s current African asylum-seeker crisis — and one way to resolve it that meets Israel’s own needs while doing right by those who most need its protection. African asylum seekers in Israel have brought their struggle into the limelight in recent weeks. Through acts of civil disobedience, public protests and a mass labor strike, the mostly Eritrean and Sudanese nationals are attempting to shift the public discourse surrounding their presence in the country, gain access to a credible process in which they can seek asylum, and challenge a new…Read More... | 10 Comments
This week: solidarity with asylum seekers, animal rights activism, denouncing against attacks on transgender people, return of Palestinian militants' remains, tear gas in Aida Camp, military training in the Jordan Valley, Palestinian steadfastness in Khirbet Makhoul, protests against medical privatization, and weekly demonstrations against the occupation.Read More... | 2 Comments
Refugees’ fear of arrest, torture, and death should be sufficient justification for their inability to return their countries of origin. So why is the Israeli government refusing to grant African refugees asylum status? A personal story. By Guy Josif and Anna Rose Siegel For the past three weeks, tens of thousands of African refugees in Israel, along with Israeli activists, have participated in demonstrations, hunger and labor strikes, and continual political engagement in opposition to intensified efforts by Israeli officials to detain refugees without due process. In response to these actions, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that these people are not refugees,…Read More... | 5 Comments
After more than a month of continuous protests and actions, the African asylum seeker community in Israel declared Wednesday an 'International day of solidarity with the African asylum seeker community in Israel.' Marches and protests have been planned in Tel Aviv, as well as outside Israeli consulates and embassies and UN offices in major cities throughout North America and Europe. Letters will be delivered to Israeli ambassadors and UNHCR officials demanding Israel ceases its policy of imprisonment and recognize the community as refugees, and calling on the UN refugee agency to take immediate responsibility. Read +972′s full coverage of African…Read More... | 13 Comments
The faces and stories of African asylum seekers indefinitely detained at 'Holot,' Israel's new 'open' prison. Project by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org, Hotline for Refugees and Migrants This portrait series was taken outside of the Holot prison for African asylum seekers in Israel's Negev desert. Israeli authorities refer to Holot as an 'open facility' because its detainees can leave for a few hours at a time. Prior to their transfer to Holot on December 12 and 13, 2013, all the subjects photographed were held under administrative detention in the "Saharonim" and "Ketsiot" Israeli prisons for periods of more then 18 months. Under current…Read More... | 7 Comments
At the start of this week, African asylum seekers in Israel began a 'Strike for Freedom,' not showing up to their places of work and taking to the streets to make their demands: an end to detentions of asylum seekers and that the Israeli government individually examine their asylum claims. Tens of thousands marched to central Tel Aviv, foreign embassies and staged a protest outside the Knesset, ultimately declaring the strike open-ended. Read +972's full coverage of African asylum seekers in Israel …Read More... | 9 Comments
Some 150 Sudanese asylum seekers jailed in the Saharonim prison began an open-ended hunger strike on Sunday. The prisoners, all of whom took part in the March For Freedom last month and were taken back to the facility, announced they would continue to strike until their release. Since Sunday, prison authorities have isolated the hunger strikers, and today four of the leaders were transferred from Saharonim prison to a Be'er Sheva jail. This following is the letter they wrote to the Israeli public. Read +972's full coverage of asylum seekers in Israel Hunger strike for freedom and human rights To the Israeli…Read More... | 16 Comments
In an editorial published Tuesday, 'The Jerusalem Post' accused left-wing NGOs of bringing African asylum seekers to Israel in order to undermine the state's Jewish majority. By accusing the Left of such Machiavellian tactics, the Post's editorial board is, quite simply, inciting against those whose political views it disagrees with. By Natasha Roth The Jerusalem Post saw fit to publish what is ostensibly a critical editorial about the recent protests by African asylum seekers in Israel on Tuesday, but which amounts to little more than a poison-pen letter to the country's left-wing NGOs. Using the familiar trojan horse of the demographic…Read More... | 10 Comments
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