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Israeli soldiers shoot and kill 21-year-old Palestinian in Nabi Saleh

Izz ad-Din Tamimi is the third resident of Nabi Saleh killed by the IDF since the village began its unarmed protests against the occupation a decade ago.

By Oren Ziv and Yael Marom

Israeli soldiers shot and killed Izz ad-Din Tamimi on Wednesday morning during a raid on the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.

According to the IDF’s version of events, Tamimi, 21, had joined several other young men from the village in clashes with soldiers. He approached the soldiers and threw a rock that hit one of the soldiers, who then opened fire.

Tamimi was shot twice, in the neck and chest, from a distance of roughly 50 meters, witnesses said. The IDF reported no soldiers were injured and that the killing was under investigation.

Israeli forces first raided Izz ad-Din Tamimi’s house last February to arrest him. When it turned out that he was not there, the IDF arrested his parents and brother instead, detaining them in Ofer Prison, where they were interrogated by the Shin Bet. Residents of Nabi Saleh said that the army had threatened to continue raiding the village until Izz a-Din turned himself in. The repeated raids ended Wednesday with his death.

Tamimi is the village of Nabi Saleh’s third casualty since its residents began an unarmed, popular struggle against the occupation roughly 10 years ago. Since the beginning of the uprising, the residents of Nabi Saleh have suffered daily threats of arrests, raids in the middle of the day and night, and routine violence.

Ahed Tamimi, the teenage girl filmed slapping two heavily armed Israeli soldiers in the village last December, remains in prison, as does her mother, Nariman.

The body of Izz ad-Din Tamimi was transferred to the hospital in Ramallah to be received by his family in preparation for burial. His funeral is planned for Wednesday evening in Nabi Saleh.

Among friends and family waiting in the hospital in Ramallah was Izz’s neighbor, Manal Tamimi. “Izz was shot several times in the past. He was first arrested when he was 14,” she said.

“He was brave, always the first to head out to protests and clashes. He was wanted for three months and we knew the raids would end in disaster,” Manal continued. “Their goal [of the raids] was to send a message to the Tamimi family.”

Oren Ziv is a photojournalist with the Activestills collective. Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement...

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When does propaganda go too far?

The Israeli army publishes a heavily edited video of a detained Palestinian man from Gaza being interrogated about Hamas tactics. The army won’t answer any questions about it.

By Oren Ziv

The Israeli army often claims that video clips published by B’Tselem and other human rights organizations in the occupied territories are mendaciously edited, and that they do not show the whole picture. It turns out, however, that it is the IDF’s spokesperson which uses manipulative video editing techniques and refuses to release original, raw video footage.

Last week, the IDF Spokesperson released a one-minute video of an interrogation of a Palestinian man from Gaza who was caught near the Gaza-Israel separation barrier during protests on Nakba Day. Several Israeli news outlets broadcasted the clip, which shows a Palestinian detainee, whose face is blurred, and a kite painted with swastikas placed directly behind him.

The detainee appears to be speaking to a soldier who is questioning him. The soldier’s questions are inaudible. The detainee is shown speaking in Arabic about the situation in Gaza, and describing how Hamas uses women and children in demonstrations he says are aimed at silencing protests against the organization.

At first glance, this 63-second video seems like precisely the kind of evidence the army needs to incriminate Hamas. But at second glance, it’s clear that the video was cut and spliced no less than eight times — almost every eight seconds on average — in a way that the detainee isn’t allowed to even complete a full sentence. It is impossible to know whether, or where, his quotes were taken out of context or have been distorted.

We asked the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit to release the full video of the interview. They refused to release the video and would not explain why the video was edited.

Is an IDF soldier even permitted to film a detainee moments after their capture? Is the Spokesperson’s Unit allowed to release such footage? The army spokesperson refused to comment on whether the detainee gave his consent to the filming and publication of the video.

“Any soldier or policeman who speaks with a detainee suspected of committing an crime is carrying out an interrogation in every respect, and the penalty for publishing an interrogation without the court’s approval is a year in prison under Israeli law,” explained Michael Sfard, an...

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How do Israeli journalists report on a place they can't reach?

For the past 11 years, Israeli journalists have been forbidden from entering Gaza. This has affected not only their reporting, but also the way fellow Israelis understand what is happening there.

By Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

The main obstacle that faces anyone who wants to report on what is happening at Gaza protests from the Israeli side of the border is that one can hear the gunfire, see the smoke, report on the army’s conduct, and estimate the number of protesters — and yet, you cannot get the full story. A journalist from East Jerusalem who often covers the goings on at the border summed it up perfectly: “We can hear the bullets, but we can’t see the blood.” Since Israel placed Gaza under siege 11 years ago, Israeli journalists have been forbidden from entering the Strip, both in times of conflict and calm. This was never Hamas’ decision; it was Israel’s.

At around noon, dozens of Palestinians gather at the Great Return March encampment at the northern edge of the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli army fires large quantities of tear gas to disperse them. Earlier in the morning, the journalists on the Israeli side stood about and argued about whether it would be a quiet day, or whether the violence would flare up following the noon prayers and the funerals of the 60 Palestinians shot dead a day earlier. Despite conflicting reports, the Great Return March encampment was still there.

Twenty kilometers south of the border, I meet Bar Hefetz, a kibbutz member, farmer, and left-wing activist from Kibbutz Nirim. He takes me for a tour alongside the border in his kibbutz-issued vehicle, and among the banana trees one can see the soldiers’ positions. “Unless you go out into the fields, you can barely hear the gunfire in Gaza,” says Hefetz about daily life in the shadow of the protests happening less than a kilometer from his home over the past few weeks.

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We continue on until we reach a structure. Hefetz says that until 1948, it served as a school in Abu Sitta, a village that was destroyed and whose residents were expelled during the Nakba. Since then, its residents live in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, whose eastern neighborhood can be seen from the fields of the...

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No amount of police can scrub out the racism of Jerusalem Day

With double the usual police presence, the anti-Arab slogans usually heard during Jerusalem Day were quickly silenced. But the racism wasn’t so swiftly scrubbed out.

By Oren Ziv and Orly Noy

A day before Israel was set to celebrate the U.S. Embassy’s move to Jerusalem, the annual “March of the Flags,” in which thousands of nationalist Israelis pass through the Old City waving flags and chanting racist slogans against Arabs, threatened to paint Jerusalem as violent and conflict-ridden. This is likely the reason the police made sure that this year, the march would be relatively quiet, without major clashes. In fact, the racism was quickly silenced, and the number of police officers was double the usual size.

And yet, racism was present in every street corner. In the frightened looks of Palestinians, in the closed-up shops, in ensuring that Palestinians were removed from the route of the march.

When the first groups of marchers headed into the Muslim Quarter of the Old City through Damascus Gate, they sang “Am Israel Chai” (“The nation of Israel lives”). When a group of teenagers began chanting racist slogans, the police immediately put an end to it.

At this point, nearly all the stores along the route of the march were closed. Palestinian residents of the Old City hurried home, some of them still holding the flowers handed out as a gesture by left-wing activists. Not all the residents were happy with the flowers; the owner of a nearby juice stand flat-out rejected the gesture. “I want peace,” the activist told him. “You want peace?” he responded, “then first tell your government to leave Al-Aqsa alone.”

Khaled Tufah, the owner of a souvenir shop on Al-Wad Street, where the march was set to take place, explained why he was closing up. “No one buys from us during the march, and even if someone does come, his friends will say: ‘He’s Arab, don’t buy from him.’”

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“I don’t care about Trump or anyone else,” Tufah continues. “A few months ago the Palestinian people showed its strength in the face of the metal detectors at Al-Aqsa, and in the end we removed them. The embassy is an issue for politicians, our power is in the streets.”

Muhammad Omar, a young Palestinian Jerusalemite, added: “Jerusalem is holy to all religions. Trump’s decision means he recognizes...

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PHOTOS: Life inside Gaza's Return March protest camp

This is what happens at the protest camp when the IDF isn’t shooting — and when the world isn’t looking.

Photos by Mohammed Zaanoun (Activestills.org), text by Mohammed Zaanoun and +972 Magazine Staff

On Fridays, the Gaza tent encampment near the Israeli border fence is a deadly zone. Israel snipers have opened fire on Palestinian demonstrators for two consecutive weeks, killing more than 30 people and wounding over 1,000. But during the middle of the week, the protest camp, part of the Great Return March, is something entirely different — a peaceful, colorful staging ground for a range different activities that draws entire families, located a mere 400 meters from the Israeli border.

Mohammed Zaanoun, an Activestills photographer, visited the protest camp east of Shujaiya, a neighborhood devastated by Israeli bombing during the 2014 war. Several hundred people were there to participate in the activities, from dancing and children’s games to cooking and even pop-up barbershops. At night, the women go home while some of the men remain in the tents.

Um Yousef Lubbad was evicted in 1948 from her home in Al Majdal, where the Israeli city of Ashkelon now stands. She lives in the Gaza Strip and is married with children — 15 family members in total.

“Today we came to the Return Camp to emphasize our right to return to the land the Zionists took from us,” she said. “I wish I could return to Al Majdal.”

“Today we are making Msaffan, which is made from flour, olive oil, and some special spices,” Um Yousef continued. “It is a traditional dish from Al Majdal.”

 

“70 members [of] our family came to the Return Camp to join our people,” Um Youssef said. “We will keep coming here to the camp till we achieve our goals and return to our land.”

The family-friendly activities, food and drink, dances and sports at protest camp have rarely appeared in reports about the Return March, which tend to focus on the violence and the dramatic images of burning tires and Israeli snipers. Reality in the protest camp is far different from what Israeli media claims it is. The protest organizers, and even Hamas, stress that this is an unarmed, popular protest against the occupation and for the Right of Return.

Roughly 70 percent of the population of Gaza are refugees — meaning they or their parents or grandparents fled or were expelled from towns,...

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Hundreds mark 13 years of protests against the wall in Bil’in

The village that managed to unite the world behind the spirit of nonviolent Palestinian protest marks more than a decade of not only tear gas, night raids and tragedy, but also co-resistance and victories in the struggle against settlements, the separation barrier and the occupation.

By Oren Ziv/Activestills.org

Some 500 demonstrators marked 13 years of struggle against the separation barrier in the West Bank village of Bil’in on Friday. The demonstrators — Palestinians, Israelis, and international solidarity activists — marched toward the wall, where Israeli border police fired tear gas at them. Several activists suffered from tear gas inhalation, and one international activist was arrested.

The demonstrations in Bil’in have taken place every Friday since February 2005, when Israeli bulldozers first arrived to start clearing olive trees to make room for the wall. Following the weekly prayer, demonstrators march from the center of the village to the separation barrier, built on the village’s land. The demonstrators, some of whom were dressed as characters from the movie “Avatar” or as Native Americans, marched toward the wall alongside a tractor carrying a massive “13,” decorated with pictures from the history of the struggle in Bil’in. Upon reaching the separation wall, several activists attempted to climb it, prompting the arrival of the border police who fired tear gas directly at the demonstrators. Among those injured by the tear gas barrage was also a journalist.

 

When the wall was first built, it expropriated some 1,950 dunams of the village’s agricultural land. Following years of struggle and a Supreme Court ruling, the wall was repositioned in 2011, returning some 600 dunams of land back to the village, but over 1,000 remain on the other side of the wall, near the ultra-orthodox settlement of Modi’in Ilit. Bil’in’s residents continue to demand the return of all of their land.

Winning back hundreds of dunams of land made Bil’in into a worldwide symbol of popular resistance to the separation barrier, settlements, and military rule in the occupied territories. But the village also suffered great losses. Israeli soldiers fired a tear gas canister directly at the chest of Bassem Abu Rahma, killing him. His sister, Jawaher, suffocated to death from tear gas inhalation. Thousands of protesters have required medical attention from Israeli crowd control measures over the decade-plus of demonstrations and hundreds have been arrested.

 

The International Court of Justice in the Hague...

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Pushed out by Israel, asylum seekers find only limbo in Uganda

By Oren Ziv

KAMPALA, Uganda — “Why should Uganda take in the people Israel doesn’t want?” asks Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, a Ugandan member of parliament who joined us in a cafe in central Kampala.

“If they’re being sent by the UN, they’ll be treated like all refugees, in a temporary manner because of the problems in their countries,” Nganda continues. He insisted on meeting us, after hearing that a small delegation of Knesset members was visiting his country from Israel. “Uganda will not become a dumping ground that whoever thinks they cannot host people — that you throw them in another country.”

We had just left Rwanda — with many questions. One thing, however, had become very clear: Rwanda is not a final destination for the refugees Israel is sending there. There is a well-oiled machine that pushes them out of the country as soon as possible. Of the several thousand asylum seekers that Israel has already deported to Rwanda, we are told that only eight remain there. The rest crossed the border into neighboring Uganda.

A sense of freedom

The short flight from Kigali, the Rwandan capital, drops us off in the dark, dilapidated airport at Entebbe, Uganda. From there, we take a van straight to Kampala, where we stay for the next few days. Our small delegation is made up of members of Knesset Mossi Raz and Michal Rozin of Meretz, two of their spokespeople, refugee rights attorney Asaf Weitzen, and myself.

Our plan is to trace the path of the asylum seekers whom Israel plans to deport — and those it has already pushed out — and try to learn any information we can about the secret agreements reportedly reached between Israel and both Rwanda and Uganda. The Rwandan and Ugandan governments deny that any such deals even exist.

In Uganda we do not sense the same fear that had seemed to grip Rwanda, where people were reluctant to speak to foreigners for fear of repercussions from the security forces. It had been impossible to take photos or video in cafes, where the number of security personnel and metal detectors would put even Israel to shame. In contrast, the chaos, colorful tumult, and congested roads in Kampala give off a sense of freedom.

Foreigners in a strange country

We arrive at Najana Kombi, a crowded refugee neighborhood without paved roads. Far from the city center,...

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Hundreds of asylum seekers march to desert prison to protest deportations

Hundreds held in Israel’s desert detention facility march to nearby Saharonim Prison after seven asylum seekers were transferred and imprisoned there indefinitely — for refusing to leave the country. 

By Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

Hundreds of asylum seekers detained in Holot, Israel’s desert detention facility for African asylum seekers, marched to nearby Saharonim Prison on Thursday after seven asylum seekers were imprisoned there for refusing to be sent an unnamed country in Africa, widely presumed to be Rwanda, as part of a “voluntary” deportation program. The demonstrators chanted “We are refugees not criminals,” “We are human beings,” “Bring back our brothers,” “Stop the deportations,” and “We are not for sale.”

Israel is giving Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers an impossible choice: leave for a third country where they are not guaranteed any legal status, or be imprisoned in Israel — indefinitely.

 

The march comes a day after 700 asylum seekers detained in Holot began a hunger strike to protest the transfer of the seven asylum seekers, who were moved to Saharonim without being allowed to pack their belongings. Two of them are survivors of torture camps in the Sinai Desert, according to the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants. Israeli authorities had previously stated that victims of torture would be exempt from the deportation program.

In the coming weeks, many more of the asylum seekers detained in Holot will be transferred to the Saharonim Prison and imprisoned indefinitely, or until they agree to leave the country.

 

Asylum seekers protesting outside of the Saharonim Prison, joined by dozens of Israeli activists, attempted to submit a letter to the prison authorities, demanding the authorities release the imprisoned asylum seekers. The prison personnel, however, refused to accept the letter.

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Journalists, diplomats kicked out of Ahed Tamimi's trial

Despite Ahed Tamimi’s request for her trial to be open to the public, military judge rules that it will take place behind closed doors.

By Oren Ziv

Dozens of diplomats, journalists, photographers, and supporters arrived at the Ofer Military prison Tuesday morning for the opening hearing in the trial of Ahed Tamimi, the 17 year old from Nabi Saleh. The judge, however, ruled that the trial would take place behind closed doors to protect Ahed’s interests, ordering everyone in the courtroom, except for Ahed’s family members to leave.

Tamimi was arrested on December 19 when the army raided her home in the middle of the night, following the publication of a video showing her attempting to push armed Israeli soldiers off of her family’s porch. She has been imprisoned since then. A military court denied bail to Ahed and her mother, Nariman, who was also arrested, ruling that they would remain in prison until the end of their trials.

Nariman was arrested the day after Ahed and is charged with incitement for livestreaming the video, which later went viral.

Ahed Tamimi faces 12 different charges in her indictment, regarding five different incidents. The charges related to the video are assault of a soldier, disrupting the work of a soldier, and incitement. That video was filmed shortly after soldiers shot Mohammed Tamimi, Ahed’s 15-year-old cousin, in the head with a rubber-coated bullet, severely wounding him; part of his skull was removed, and he was in a coma for several days.

The trials of minors are typically held behind closed doors to protect the minors. According to Attorney Gaby Lasky, who is representing Ahed, the best defense would be to open the trial to public scrutiny. Lasky intends to appeal the decision, arguing that it is Ahed’s right to decide whether the trial will take place behind closed doors or will be open to the public. Ahed was said to be planning to read a public statement at the hearing, which was made impossible by the judge’s decision.

“The court understands that this trial interests many people outside of the courtroom, that people know that her [Ahed’s] rights are being violated and that this trial is entirely unnecessary,” Lasky said following the judge’s decision. “The way to keep the story out of view of the public is to close the doors.”

“All of the proceedings until now were open to the public,” Lasky added. “Closed door...

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Sent to Rwanda by Israel: 'We have no food or work. Don't come here'

Ahead of a mass planned deportation, +972 Magazine joins two members of Knesset on a trip to Rwanda and Uganda to investigate what happens to the asylum seekers Israel is sending there. The one thing that remained most elusive: a future for asylum seekers pushed out of Israel.

By Oren Ziv

KIGALI, Rwanda — A dark cloud of ambiguity and fear has settled over Rwanda in the past few days. According to workers in international humanitarian organizations, the protests against the deportation of asylum seekers, held outside the country’s embassies in Israel and across the world, have put pressure on the government. For years, President Paul Kagame’s tyrannical regime has tried to rebrand itself in both Africa and across the world, following the genocide that took place here over 20 years ago. Accusations of abuse toward African asylum seekers aren’t helping.

For years I have been monitoring the situation of asylum seekers in Israel: since the first ones came to Israel from Darfur in 2005, through the rising tensions in south Tel Aviv, the establishment of Holot detention center, and various protest movements. Over the past few weeks I have stood with them in hours-long lines at Interior Ministry offices in and around Tel Aviv.

Most of those with whom I spoke told me they prefer prison over deportation to a “third country,” namely Rwanda or Uganda. While Israel claims it has reached an agreement with the former, the Rwandan government has repeatedly denied signing any deal to receive refugees deported from Israel. Past experience, along with various remarks made by the authorities, signal that Rwanda is the main destination.

While activists and asylum seekers protested outside embassies and consulates around the world, I headed for the airport with Meretz MKs Michal Rozin Mossi Raz, and refugee attorney Asaf Weitzen, in order to see for ourselves what is happening in those third countries, to which thousands of asylum seekers have already departed, and to which thousands will soon be deported.

“We have come to educate ourselves and make every effort possible to stop this shameful deportation, says Raz. “I am willing to go anywhere in the world to expose and stop this shameful act.”

As we land in Kigali, it is hard not to think about the journey of asylum seekers who “voluntarily left” Israel. Several thousand Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers in recent years have accepted a $3,500 incentive from Israel...

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'They told me to go to a third country. I won't go. I'll go to jail.'

Israel begins issuing deportation notices to African asylum seekers: leave the country within two months, or face indefinite imprisonment. 

By Oren Ziv

Two hundred of them arrived in the early morning hours on Sunday, gathering in an industrial area in the mostly ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, just outside of Tel Aviv. They arrived on foot from the main road, or by costly taxis. Now, they stand in a parking lot, amidst parked trucks and piles of garbage. They are here, outside the Interior Ministry’s main office, to submit asylum requests or renew their visas, which the Israeli government requires them to do every two months.

At the Interior Ministry’s office on Salemeh Street in south Tel Aviv, African asylum seekers often wait for days in long lines, overnight and in the cold rain, to enter the building. But here in Bnei Brak, most of the refugees do not spend the night.

An Eritrean tea vendor volunteers to hand out numbers that she writes on pieces of paper, which she gives to the asylum seekers at 8 a.m. They form a line according to these numbers. Once they have reached the end of this line, they receive another number, this time for the Interior Ministry. Then, inside the office, there are two lines: one for filing asylum claims (though Israel has said claims filed after January will not be treated as reason to delay deportation), and one for renewing visas.

It is the first day that Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers have been issued deportation notices — letters instructing them to leave the country within two months or face indefinite detention in the Saharonim prison.

The Israeli government announced in early January that the African asylum seekers had three months to leave the country. Those who remain after the three months will face a choice: deportation to an unnamed third country, presumed to be Rwanda, or indefinite detention in Israel. Beginning in April, Israel will also gradually decrease the departure grant — currently $3,500 — allotted to asylum seekers who opt to leave the country.

Rwandan officials have repeatedly denied the existence of any secret agreement with Israel, under which their country accepts asylum seekers. Yet the deportations have already begun; Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority is reportedly offering a bonus of roughly $9,000 to high-school-educated citizens willing to participate in the deportation operations.

In contrast to the...

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Military court: Ahed Tamimi and her mom to remain in prison

Bassem Tamimi: ‘I don’t trust this court, I don’t trust this legal system, all of which is built to punish the Palestinians.’

By Oren Ziv

An Israeli military appeals court on Wednesday denied bail to Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian girl who was filmed slapping an Israeli soldier at the entrance to her home, and her mother Nariman, ordering them held in prison until the conclusion of their respective trials.

Tamimi is charged with five counts of assaulting security forces, as well as with incitement. Her mother is accused of incitement via social media.

Military Judge Haim Baliti rejected most of the arguments put forth by Attorney Gaby Lasky, who is representing both Ahed and Nariman. In a hearing on Monday, Lasky had challenged the military prosecution’s assertion that both Ahed and Nariman posed a danger to the security of the area, questioned why Ahed was subject to a different legal system than Israeli minors in the West Bank, and called the arrests politically motivated.

In his decision, Baliti said Ahed’s behavior was “ideologically motivated,” based on an assertion that she had repeatedly attacked soldiers over the years. He further argued that the fact that Ahed had never been arrested before went to show the leniency of the security forces, and was not indicative of whether or not those forces viewed Ahed Tamimi’s acts as criminal or not.

Following the two hearings, Bassem Tamimi, Ahed’s father and Nariman’s husband, vowed to continue the struggle for dignity and freedom — until the occupation ends.

“I don’t trust this court, I don’t trust this legal system, all of which is built to punish the Palestinians,” said Bassem, whom the EU once designated a human rights defender and Amnesty International called a prisoner of conscience. “My sister [was] killed inside one of these courts in 1993. My daughter and wife are in the hands of my enemy.”

WATCH: Bassem Tamimi after his wife and daughter’s hearing in military court

While the judge was reading his decision, Maurice Hirsch, formerly the Israeli army’s chief military prosecutor in the West Bank, and who currently works for right-wing NGO Monitor, distributed a document from the organization quoting himself. The document argued that all Western legal systems would have kept Ahed in jail until the end of legal proceedings, despite what human rights organizations mifht say. The distribution of NGO materials inside a court room is not...

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Refugees hold 'slave auction' outside Knesset to protest deportation

Israel plans to begin deporting tens of thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers within weeks. Activists hope the action will raise awareness of what awaits them.

By Oren Ziv

A group of Eritrean asylum seekers and Israeli refugee advocates staged a mock slave auction outside the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, while a conference on government plans to begin mass deportations of asylum seekers took place inside Wednesday morning.

Around 10 asylum seekers stood on make-shift auction blocks made of milk crates, while an auctioneer called out, “get your slaves, slaves for half price,” over a megaphone. A single member of Knesset, Dov Khenin, came outside to support the asylum seekers, and called Israel’s refugee policy inhumane and unacceptable.

Israeli officials have stated that starting in a matter of weeks, tens of thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel will face a stark choice: indefinite imprisonment or agree to be sent to Rwanda or Uganda. Asylum seekers who have left Israel for the two countries in recent years have not received any legal status there, and faced dangerous conditions and choices, including heading toward Europe through Libya, where human trafficking and other types of violence is a constant danger.

Vowing to choose prison over deportation, Awad, one of the Eritrean asylum seekers who took part in the protest action as a would-be slave on the auction block, appealed to Israelis to listen and learn. “Before you deport us let’s sit and talk about our problem. Learn about what the problems are in Eritrea,” said Awad, who asked not to use his last name. “We are refugees, not infiltrators, not work migrants — we are refugees. We will stay here, in prison.”

Human rights and refugee advocacy organizations in Israel and abroad have condemned the Israeli government’s plan and pledged to fight the deportations.

“The asylum seekers that are deported from Israel end up in Libya — end up being sold. This is not just an idea, this is what happens to them actually once they are deported from Israel,” said Sigal Avivi, an Israeli refugee rights activist who helped organize the action outside the Knesset on Wednesday. “Their lives are in danger. We came today to the Knesset to reinforce that message.”

A similar mock slave auction was held outside Tel Aviv’s main shopping mall, Dizengoff Center, a few weeks earlier.

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