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  • The farce of Israel's 'voluntary deportation' policy

    After fleeing Eritrea and being tortured in Egypt, the Israeli government gave Daniel two choices: either voluntarily deport yourself to Rwanda or go to prison. By Sigal Rozen "You see this one? When they'll come to take everybody, this one I'll hide in my home!" told me Yossi, owner of a shop in south Tel Aviv, and one of the leaders of the campaign against the "infiltrators" as he pointed at his employee, Daniel (not his real name). During Knesset hearings, Yossi would talk about the Eritrean infiltrators who get drunk, start fights and leave broken bottles and blood stains…

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  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of asylum seekers released from Holot — with nowhere to go

    Approximately 600 African asylum seekers were released from Holot on Tuesday morning, following a High Court ruling. But their ban from entering Tel Aviv or Eilat — where much of their community lives — left them feeling helpless and confused. By Oren Ziv / Hassan, a Sudanese asylum seeker, looks on as he stands outside Holot detention center, where he has been held for the past 20 months. Tuesday was supposed to be a happy day for him — the day he was being released following a High Court ruling two weeks ago. But the decision by Interior Minister…

  • Israel doesn't need to deport asylum seekers to make them leave

    Six ways the Israeli government is intentionally making the lives of asylum seekers unbearable. By Elizabeth Tsurkov Since 2008, the Israeli government has been implementing several policies whose purpose is to make the lives of African asylum seekers miserable, in the words of former Israeli Minister of Interior, and to coerce them to leave Israel. Both Israeli and international law prohibits the state from deporting asylum seekers to their countries of origin, leading Israel to adopt the following policies that would compel asylum seekers to leave without forcibly deportation: [tmwinpost] 1. Denial of basic rights: Since 2008, asylum seekers who…

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  • Our elected officials boast about deporting genocide survivors

    Israel's leaders are proud of themselves for deporting asylum seekers, while the state continues to trample over their rights and deceive them. What have we come to? By Moran Mekamel On Tuesday, it was announced that the government is planning to forcibly deport Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to "third countries." Those who refuse to leave will be jailed in Saharonim prison for an indefinite amount of time. This latest step is not wrapped in pretty words such as "returning by choice" or "benefit packages," whose goal is to cover up the government-sponsored horror show taking place here. Those behind the…

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  • A couple of Netanyahu's not-so-white lies to Americans

    In the past week or so, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated a couple of talking points that diverged from the truth, but few people called him out on it. 1. In a meeting with the Jewish Federations of North America in New York last Tuesday,  the prime minister fielded a question regarding the state's practice of sending asylum seekers to detention facilities in the desert, sometimes for unlimited periods of time. This has been the first time the prime minister commented since a recent ruling by the High Court that ordered the detainees to be released. "There is no asylum…

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  • Marching toward freedom in a fictional plot of land

    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…

  • For Israel's Justice Ministry, human rights are nothing but good PR

    Over the past several years, Israel’s Ministry of Justice has found itself a new angle for engaging in public diplomacy: defending some of the worst pieces of Knesset legislation, while celebrating whatever outcome the court hands down when they are challenged. By Hagai El-Ad Human rights are neither a theoretical concept nor a distant vision: for human beings, human rights are either a foundation for a just life – or, more often, humans are deprived of them. In such realities, the enumeration of rights becomes an enumeration of grievances. For human rights organizations, that enumeration of grievances becomes a workplan.…

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  • Photos of the week: Asylum seekers, LGBT activists hit the streets

    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.                    

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  • 150 imprisoned African asylum seekers start hunger strike

    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…

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  • 'This is not a life': A journey to Israel's 'open' detention center

    When a group of Jewish Israelis set out for the Holot 'open prison' in the Negev, they were hoping to sing Christmas carols to the asylum seekers. But by the time they got there, the things they saw and heard made it clear that there was nothing to sing about. By Ayla Peggy Adler When asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan walked out of the Holot prison last week, they walked out of obscurity. Until then, even people like myself who had been involved in their community six years ago when they first arrived to Israel—and who, three years later,…

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  • In act of civil disobedience, 150 Sudanese refugees walk out of Israeli 'open prison'

    The 150 men walk six hours through the Negev desert in bid to reach Jerusalem, are currently in Be'er Sheva and rebuffing authorities' offer to bus them back to the 'Holot' open prison facility that opened late last week. Text by Michael Omer-Man Photos by Yotam Ronen, Oren Ziv, Shiraz Grinbaum/ Roughly 150 Sudanese asylum seekers left a new 'open prison' and walked six hours to Be'er Sheva in a mass act of civil disobedience protesting their continued detention without trial and demanding recognition as refugees on Sunday. The asylum seekers were transferred to the new facility, “Holot,” in recent…

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  • Knesset passes revised law for detention of African asylum seekers

    The previous law was struck down by the High Court, which ordered the state to begin releasing the asylum seekers it was indefinitely detaining. Instead, the Knesset passed a law to circumvent the ruling and indefinitely detain asylum seekers in 'open prisons.' By Elizabeth Tsurkov After a passionate debate and a filibuster by opposition members of Knesset, the new amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration Law passed 30 to 15 early Tuesday morning. The new amendment, hurriedly drafted and passed by the governing coalition, will replace the 2012 amendment to the law, which was nixed by the High Court of Justice…

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  • Meet the Israeli who vows to keep going to jail until Africans are released

    Ido Naveh says he will continue to stage non-violent protests outside Israel's desert detention camp until all the asylum seekers held within it are freed.  By David Sheen Many Israelis may support their government's efforts to keep non-Jewish asylum seekers from Africa at bay and beyond the borders of the country. In recent weeks, however, one man has repeatedly provoked prison officials into detaining him, in order to protest the imprisonment of the Africans. Ido Naveh of Jerusalem has been detained at least three times in the last month for maintaining a non-violent vigil outside of Saharonim, Israel’s desert detention…

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