Following media reports and the intervention of two members of Knesset, the Israel Prison Service provided African asylum seekers with heating pads, which one asylum seeker says are inadequate. As temperatures drop below zero, Tel Aviv residents protest conditions at the Holot detention facility. By Yael Marom Two Israeli refugee rights organizations petitioned the High Court of Justice on Sunday, demanding that the State provide bedroom heaters for asylum seekers imprisoned in the “Holot” detention facility. “Despite the freezing cold the Israel Prison Service, which operates ‘Holot,’ is not providing or installing electric heaters, air conditioners or radiators in the…Read More... | 3 Comments
As part of a new online campaign Israelis are giving voice to African asylum seekers who have been silenced, locked up and forgotten. By Avi Blecherman If you’re a Hebrew speaker you’re probably asking yourself how your Facebook feed suddenly filled up with quotes from asylum seekers in the “Holot” detention facility. Well, it’s because a new online campaign called "Voices from Holot" launched Sunday, allowing you to to share any number of quotes collected from interviews with asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan, all of whom are imprisoned in the “Holot" and “Saharonim” prisons. A number of human rights…Read More... | 4 Comments
Images help shape the way we understand the world. A powerful image can resonate in the minds of millions and affect the public agenda, leading to increased awareness, activism and policy initiatives. This year we witnessed the worst attack on Gaza in decades, endless violence and hostility in Jerusalem, housing struggles inside Israel, ongoing home demolitions in Bedouin villages and in the Jordan Valley, as well as the continuing struggle for freedom by the community of African asylum seekers. Activestills selects the most powerful, important and moving images of 2014 — presented in chronological order. Photos by: Ahmad al-Bazz, Fiaz Abu-Rmeleh, Shiraz Grinbaum, Keren…Read More...
As 2014 comes to a close, +972 Magazine’s editors and bloggers took time to look back at the year that was, and share the articles that most resonated with them – in no particular order. Israel's watershed moment that wasn't The Gaza war was perceived very differently in Israel and abroad, even among some of this government's supporters. Specifically, we heard references to the type of atmosphere that prevailed in the Jewish community during the First Lebanon War and the First Intifada — feelings of shock, after which nothing could possibly be the same. Foreign journalists and diplomats expressed similar…Read More... | 1 Comment
Human rights organizations pledge to challenge the latest iteration of the Prevention of Infiltration Law; new poll gives Livni and Labor a chance; Arab parties agree in principle to a joint list; High Court to hear Zoabi's challenge to Knesset suspension. Before disbanding itself ahead of elections, the Knesset on Monday passed its third try at a law that would keep open Israel’s detention center for African asylum seekers. The High Court of Justice struck down two previous versions of the law as unconstitutional and ordered the Holot open prison closed nearly three months ago. The law's fate fell into the…Read More... | 8 Comments
With the humanitarian crisis more dire than ever before, the extreme need in Gaza continues to far outstrip the trickle of resources allowed to enter. Photos: Anne Paq/Activestills.org Text: Ryan Rodrick Beiler Click here for +972's full coverage of the Gaza war Following Israel's seven-week offensive last summer, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been forced to cope with living conditions much harsher than the aftermath of previous wars. As winter approaches, UN estimates that some 18,000 housing units remain either destroyed or severely damaged, rendering more than 108,000 people homeless. Eyewitnesses report that many of those without adequate shelter are…Read More... | 9 Comments
So long as the fight for asylum seekers' rights — which I have taken part in — remains blind to the fact that Mizrahi slums are the only places carrying the burden of supporting and integrating asylum seekers, any celebration of the High Court to shut down Holot is premature. By Shula Keshet (Translated from Hebrew by Michal Wertheimer Shimoni) My neighborhood in south Tel Aviv, Neve Sha'anan, has been given many odd names over the years. Countless times, I’ve been told: “Ah, you live in the central bus station” — and for good reason. After all, two central stations –…Read More... | 6 Comments
A new Israeli film takes a disturbing look at the torture camps for Eritrean refugees in Sinai, and the Swedish-Eritrean journalist who has devoted herself to exposing the torture victims’ stories and ending their suffering. Related: A life of forced labor: Why Israel's Eritrean refugees fled home Testimony: Sudanese refugee details torture by Sinai smugglers What the bones remember: Israeli doctors talk tortureRead More... | 3 Comments
Is Eritrea's brutal dictatorship on the verge of collapse? By Elizabeth Tsurkov Israel is home to about 35,000 Eritrean asylum-seekers. While the Israeli government claims that they are work migrants, so as not to violate its own laws, Israel does not forcibly deport Eritreans back to their country of origin. As long as Eritrea is ruled by the current regime, the millions of Eritreans living outside of their homeland cannot return, but is it possible that the regime in Eritrea will soon collapse? Recent reports from Eritrea and refugees who recently fled the east-African country indicate that the regime is…Read More... | 12 Comments
A few thoughts on the decision to shut down Israel's detention facility for African asylum seekers, what the High Court ruling says about the gratuitous and political arrests of Palestinian protesters in Israel, and the assassination that only took place if you read Hebrew. 1. A slightly ‘less crazy’ Israel Following the Israeli High Court decision on Monday to shut down Holot and cancel the piece of legislation that permitted the indefinite detention of African asylum seekers (the way the law was written, non-African asylum seekers were never in danger of indefinite detention), Darfuri refugee Mutasim Ali wrote in…Read More... | 25 Comments
Mutasim Ali is happy but he is not celebrating the landmark court ruling that will set him and thousands of other African asylum seekers free by the end of the year. There is a long, bumpy road ahead, he says, but 'Israel will be a better place and it is our responsibility to make it so.' By Mutasim Ali A new dawn has come. A tremendous success has been achieved by everyone who believes in justice and equal rights for mankind. I wasn’t surprised by the resolution of High Court of Justice. No smart person would think differently. The reason why…Read More... | 6 Comments
The amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration Law permits the state to indefinitely detain African asylum seekers whom it cannot deport. A previous version of the law was struck down. Israel’s High Court of Justice was expected to decide whether to uphold or strike down key parts of a law that allows the indefinite detention of African asylum seekers in its ‘Holot’ detention facility. The court struck down a previous version of the law, prompting lawmakers to quickly draft a replacement — one that introduced even more severe problems. A key intention and consequence of the new law that the…Read More... | 3 Comments
Nearly 1,000 African asylum seekers walked out of Israel's 'open' detention facility last week, saying they were headed to a strip of UN-controlled territory along the Egyptian border. This is the story of their march -- full of hopes, determination and desperation. Encampment air hangs hot and still. Under a dry canopy of Eucalyptus it swaddles the crowds of Sudnese and Eritrean asylum seekers who make temporary beds here, some 300 meters from the Israeli-Egyptian border. Hassan Abdaiiah Adam, a 30-year-old asylum seeker from Darfur, passes thick fingers over the yellow whistle that he wears around his neck. He has…Read More...
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