Asylum seeker who left Israel: ‘I believed them when they said I could stay in Uganda’ | +972 Magazine Asylum seeker who left Israel: 'I believed them when they said I could stay in Uganda'

+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Asylum seeker who left Israel: 'I believed them when they said I could stay in Uganda'

The following is a redacted version of an affidavit that was attached to a petition filed by Israeli human rights NGOs and the Tel Aviv University Refugee Rights’ Clinic against the recently announced policy of indefinitely incarcerating Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers who refuse to leave Israel for Rwanda or Uganda.

Under a new policy announced on March 31, 2015, asylum-seekers detained in Holot will be offered to leave Israel for an unnamed third country. If they refuse to do so, after 30 days, they would be incarcerated in Saharonim prison. Dozens of Eritrean asylum-seekers in Holot have since undergone interviews in which they were offered to leave, and are facing imminent transfer to Saharonim.

Based on testimonies of asylum-seekers who left Israel to those unnamed “third countries,” Israeli human rights NGOs know that they are Uganda and Rwanda. The petition was filed to the Beer Sheva District Court and was dismissed by Judge Bitan, who ruled the petition was premature because the transfer of detainees from Holot to Saharonim prison has not yet begun.

The following is an affidavit by “Robel,” an Eritrean national who agreed to voluntary deportation from Israel. (His name has been changed for his protection.)

***

I arrived in Israel in 2008. I asked for asylum every time I spoke to an Israeli official but I did not receive any reply to my asylum claim at any point.

I decided to leave Israel after I was detained in Holot for a year and stopped believing that I will ever be released in Israel. During the year I spent in Holot we conducted demonstrations. During the arrest that followed our march to Nizana, near the Egyptian border on June 29, 2014, I was badly beaten by Israeli Immigration officers. They forgot to take our cameras when they arrested us and I managed to transfer photos of my wounds to the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants. Despite the fact that the Hotline submitted a complaint against the immigration officers on my behalf, I was never questioned about the incident. Because of all these reasons, I felt that Israel cannot provide me and my friends a safe refuge and I decided to leave Israel no matter where to and look for refuge elsewhere.

After I told the Immigration Authority I wanted to leave, they told me that I will be leaving to Rwanda and from there would have to go to Uganda, because Uganda was not accepting Eritrean asylum-seekers directly at the time.
My flight was at the beginning of March 2015. There were three Eritreans who were sent with me on the same flight. At Ben-Gurion Airport we were given Israeli traveling documents valid for three months, visa confirmation paper for Rwanda, $3,500 in cash, and our flight tickets.

When we arrived in Kigali airport, the security personnel at the airport confiscated our Israeli travel documents. The official asked us to wait and called someone with a car to take us to a house where we could rest. We stayed for two days in that house, which was guarded. I asked the guard to let me leave, but the guard did not allow me, saying that it is dangerous to walk around without any documents. After two days, we were transferred to another house where we met six more Eritreans who arrived from Israel on the same day on a transit flight from Ethiopia.

We stayed in the second house for several hours when a man who introduced himself as Yohannes came and said that we must go to Uganda now. He asked for $150 from each one of us and told us that when we reach Kampala, we need to pay additional $100 to the guy who will bring us there.

The driver took us to a small van which was too small for us, 10 Eritreans and himself. After a seven-hour drive, we reached close to the border with Uganda. The driver turned off the lights and drove for around five minutes and then we were told to get out of the car and walk. Just before crossing the border, someone appeared from the other side and crossed the border with us. We headed to Kampala and after two to three hours of driving, our car was stopped by someone. He communicated with the driver in Luganda (a local language). We were told that we needed to pay more money or we would be arrested.

They ordered us to get out of the car one by one and checked if we had money. They took more than $10,000 from us and then they called the police. I immediately reported to the police that the people who called them took our money. The police registered them and said “no problem. I will do my best.” We did not receive back our money. We were transferred to the police station in Kampala.

At the police station, we surrendered everything we had: the rest of our money, our bags and cellphones before they locked us up at a police station in Kampala. We were locked up and stayed there for six days. The officer said that on Thursday they will take us to the immigration office (or court) and then we will be released. But before that, he said, “you should pay $1,000 to me.” I said “OK” and asked him why we are being taken to the immigration office. He said that it is because the office already knows about us. I was sure that they intended to deport us to Eritrea. I was very afraid but it was evening and we were not able to call anyone.

I finally I got permission to call my friends and they contacted an Eritrean who lives in Kampala. He came to the jail at 11:30 p.m. and talked to the police. He explained to me that if we were transferred to immigration, they would deport us to Eritrea. Thanks to him, we were demanded only $800 each from the 10 of us.

He said that the immigration officer demanded $6,000 while the police officer demanded $2,000, and they both promised that after the payment we will be released within six hours. We paid the money and were all released.
I ran away from Uganda since I realized that my staying there is illegal and that I might be deported to Eritrea if I remained there.

Today I am in Kenya, I had to enter illegally. I applied for refugee status with the Ministry of Immigration and Registration, Department of Refugee Affairs in Kenya and received an asylum seeker document. This document does not allow me to work and my interview is scheduled for May 2016.

I am very angry and frustrated that I was sent from Israel in this manner. I can’t believe that they actually told me that I could stay in Rwanda or Uganda and that everything was arranged. I am very sorry that I made the mistake and believed them.

Click for +972’s full coverage of asylum seekers in Israel

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. Ellen L.

      As an American with longstanding ties to Israel, I cannot overstate how infuriating it is to read this. People like “Rovel” faced unending hardship to reach Israel, a land they had heard was based on the rule of law and fairness. Israel likes to promote itself as the “only democracy in the Middle East,” yet when it comes to living up to that description, it all too often fails miserably. There is no such thing as “voluntary deportation,” and this testimony is one of many documents that proves it. What happened to Rovel is a violation of international law and of treaties Israel is itself a signatory to. There is still time to right this terrible wrong and treat the remaining 45,000 Eritrean and Sudanese refugees in Israel with the fairness they so clearly deserve. I don’t see any signs that this will actually happen, but I have to remain quietly hopeful that testimonies like this one will force enough people to stand up and fight the existing policy that tells these survivors of political repression and, in some cases, genocide, in their homelands, that they are not welcome in a land that was founded on the very principle of giving those who have been long rejected by history a place they can finally be free.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Ellen, I share the compassion inherent in your post, but I disagree on the facts whereupon you rely and the thought-process which you followed.

        1. First of all, Israel did sign the CRSR (Convention Relating To The Status Of Refugees) wherein the Right to Political Asylum is laid down. But as you probably know, Treaties/Conventions/International Agreements bind the Signatories thereof to the extent their Reservations allow. Israel made the following Reservation to the CRSR: “[S]ubject to the following statements and reservations:

        2. Articles 8 and 12 shall not apply to Israel.
        3. Article 28 shall apply to Israel with the limitations which result from Section 6 of the Passport Law of 5712-1952, according to which the Minister may, at his discretion:
        (a) Refuse to grant, or to extend the validity of a passport or laissez-passer;
        (b) Attach conditions to the grant or the extension of the validity of a passport or laissez-passer;
        (c) Cancel, or shorten the period of validity of a passport or laissez-passer issued, and order the surrender thereof;
        (d) Limit, either at or after the issue of a passport or laissez-passer, the range of countries for which it is to be valid.
        4. Permits provided for by Article 30 shall be issued by the Minister of Finance at his discretion.”
        Israel strictly follows the Rule Of Law which means no more than that all governments action must have legal basis and that the law must be generally applicable and equally applied and enforced following clear rules of procedure. The State Of Israel has rules and procedures for handling applications from asylum seekers in accordance with the CRSR. Currently thousands of applications have been filed with the Israeli Ministry of Interior. The decisions are still pending in many of the cases.

        2. Secondly the number of individuals recognized as asylum seekers in Israel is, arguably, extremely small. HOWEVER, and this is very important, today in Israel, there are hundreds of thousands of foreigners who are issued Israeli residence permit to work in Israel, earn good money, take care of themselves, have healthy saving accounts and send the remainder of their money to their families abroad. Most of the refugees you have in mind fall under that group. It is very unfortunate that +972mag gives a one-sided and seriously distorted account of the refugee situation in Israel. I hope that troubles you and that you take whatever you read on this site with a grain of salt.

        3. Finally, Israel is a very tiny Country that has massive problems with regard to (a) the continued influx and integration of Jews – especially those fleeing persecution and/or certain death in today’s Europe (!!), (b) very worrying rising unemployment, (c) sever housing crisis, (d) existential/security threats from both the north and the south, Judea & Samaria and the Mad Mullahs in Tehran. We are doing our best given these and other circumstances. If we let every illegal migrant stay, one day Israel will not be Israel anymore. We cannot absorb everyone regardless of how desperately we would like to do so.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ellen L.

          First of all, no one who is actively involved in this issue believes that “The State Of Israel has rules and procedures for handling applications from asylum seekers in accordance with the CRSR. Currently thousands of applications have been filed with the Israeli Ministry of Interior. The decisions are still pending in many of the cases.” They simply have not heard asylum cases and there is no evidence that they plan to do so in any kind of timely or organized manner. What has instead happened, is a systematic policy of forced (often under the guise of “voluntary,” as so eloquently described in this testimony) deportation and detention at Holot. The left hand claims to be hearing asylum cases while the right hand is doing everything in its power to force asylum-seekers out of the country.

          Second, there are not “hundreds of thousands” of foreigners legally working in Israel, but, more accurately, about 100,000. There are many thousands more, mainly Eastern European (Russian, Romanian, etc.), that Israel looks the other way for. Yes, some Africans fall into this category, but many more do not, and about 10,000 have already been forced out of the country. One cannot help but conclude that at least part of the reason for this situation is race. Why is it that Russian and Romanian foreign workers who are not documented tolerated by Israel, but refugees from Africa who have fled severe repression and ethnic cleansing are not? I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

          Third, the argument that Israel is a “very small country” and cannot accommodate 45,000 refugees does not stand up to the reality test. As noted above, Israel is already accommodating 200,000 or so foreign workers who do not have legal status. How can it then argue that it has no room for refugees from Darfur, many of whom have fled genocide? I am tired of hearing that Israel is doing “its best.” Lying to someone about where they are going and what will happen to them because you want to be rid of them is not anyone’s “best.” There are thousands more like the gentleman who gave this testimony. I have had the opportunity to visit others who now spend their days languishing in Holot, instead of making a contribution to the Israeli economy and to other facets of Israeli life as they dearly wish to do. Some of them are contributing in important ways despite the circumstances they are in. We are talking about a finite number of people who ask only that they be given a chance. Ignoring their requests for asylum hearings and bribing them to go to African countries where they have no ties, do not speak the language, and are not welcome, is hardly an appropriate response by anyone’s calculation.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Ellen,

            1. The link below sheds more light on your first argument and provides info in support of my presentation. Among other, it clearly states as follows: “To set out the process of handling political asylum seekers in Israel, and those who were recognized as refugees by the Interior Minister by virtue of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees1 and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees2 (hereinafter: “the Refugee Convention”). The provisions of this procedure do not derogate from the authorities vested in the Interior Minister by the Entry to Israel Law 5712-19523 . However, persons staying illegally, who have submitted an application for political asylum, will not be deported until a final decision is made regarding their application.”

            http://www.piba.gov.il/Regulations/Procedure%20for%20Handling%20Political%20Asylum%20Seekers%20in%20Israel-en.pdf

            Confirming the info I provided, Haaretz states this: According to the state’s own figures, only around one percent of applications from Sudanese asylum seekers have received a response; over 2,000 await an answer”. see: www(dot)haaretz(dot)com(slash)news(slash)Israel(slash)(dot)premium-1.643134

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Percent of Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers granted refugee status:

            ISRAEL: 0.07%

            INTERNATIONALLY: 56-84%

            http://www.haaretz.com/news/israel/.premium-1.643134#!

            “The Israeli government has responded to just 1.42 percent of the requests for asylum submitted by Sudanese nationals living in the country, and has not granted refugee status to a single one.

            Since July 2009, Sudanese citizens in Israel, most of whom came from the Darfur region, submitted 3,165 asylum requests. The state answered only 45 of the applications, rejecting 40 of them and granting temporary residency to five people on the basis of a cabinet resolution from 2007, under then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Of the Sudanese asylum seekers, 976 (31 percent) either left Israel or withdrew their applications. The remaining 2,184 (69 percent) are still waiting for an answer….

            Israel has granted refugee status to just four of the 5,573 asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea combined, or 0.07 percent. Internationally, 84 percent of Eritreans and 56 percent of Sudanese asylum seekers either received refugee status or were granted extended protection in the first half of 2014, according to the United Nations refugee agency, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees….

            In a High Court session on the matter two weeks ago Yochi Gnessin, the lawyer representing the state in the matter, rebuffed the petitioners’ claim that the purpose of the Holot facility was to “break the spirit” of the asylum seekers. She did, however, admit that the state seeks to encourage “voluntary exit” by sending asylum seekers to Holot.

            According to Population, Immigration and Border Authority data, in 2014 there were about 34,000 Eritreans and 8,800 Sudanese in Israel.

            The state also gave the court additional details on the detainees at Holot: 1,940 asylum seekers are being held at Holot, 1,476 (76 percent) of them Sudanese citizens and 464 (24 percent) Eritreans….

            The state also gave the court additional details on the detainees at Holot: 1,940 asylum seekers are being held at Holot, 1,476 (76 percent) of them Sudanese citizens and 464 (24 percent) Eritreans. Of these, 865 (45 percent) have been there for more than nine months… Of the Holot detainees, 1,198 (62 percent) came to Israel at least six years ago.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            @Eis:

            Would you please explain to me how a document of procedures put up by the Interior Ministry (with not a single word said about completing procedures in a timely manner or in any time frame whatsoever) in any way “sheds light on” Ellen’s argument that these cases are not, at all, “still pending,” they have simply not been heard and there is no evidence that the authorities plan to do so in any kind of timely manner? Please explain that.

            Regarding the timeliness of your future reply: Is your explanation to me “pending”? Or is it simply not going to be heard? Which is it? Please advise and explain the difference.

            Reply to Comment
          • BigCat

            Brian alias “Ben” alias “MuslimJew” alias “David T.” alias “Dekkers” alias etc.,

            If you read the entire document posted by Ginger you will find ALL the answers to your questions. Start reading now, moron.

            If you read Ginger’s first post you might have noticed that most people who claim to be “refugees” are actually given work residence permit by Israel. Those folks actually make use of their work residence permit to find work, earn money and take care of themselves and their families. YOU on the other hand have no job and are not looking for a job, but instead depend on food-stamps provided by the United States Government to survive and use the time you have to find job to fixate on- and obsess about Jews and Israel 24/7. Go get a job and seek professional help, you psychotic moron!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Oh did I just feel light rain drops falling? I’m not sure. In Troll Land the weather is always changing. Oh it’s you, il mio gattino disonesto. I was addressing La Signora Eis, not your mangy personage. She can answer herself. And no the documents answer nothing. They just bear out that Eis has not refuted Ellen one bit and only cloaks matters in officious legalistic…?…what’s that technical term I’m looking for? Oh yes, “a rambling mumbo jumbo.”

            Reply to Comment
          • BigCat

            Brian alias “Ben” alias “MuslimJew” alias etc., I am sure Ginger and Ellen were having an interesting conversation when you started hyperventilating and injected yourself into a good conversation with your usual copy-pasted material accompanied by your usual rambling mumbo jumbo. You always hyperventilate and starts acting strangely whenever you see Ginger around and she never relies to any of your idiocy incl. the posts with sexual contents you bombarded her with in the past. Keep whacking it, moron, Lol….just don’t pull too hard else you get hurt, you hear? Now, to the point:

            – Ellen denied that Israel has no asylum rules and procedures. Ginger demolished that with clear EVIDENCE!
            – Ellen claimed that the cases are not being heard and that there are no pending asylum cases. Ginger demolished that. YOU moron even copied and pasted the Haaretz article referenced by Ginger which confirms what Ginger said and contradicts Ellen. Haaretz says that at least 2000 asylum cases are awaiting decisions and that decisions has been made in some cases! On top of that, Israel grants work residence permit to most asylum seekers as Ginger said. What part of that is too difficult to get through your thick skull, idiot? Other false claims made by Ellen were equally demolished by Ginger below.
            – The document Ginger posted tells you exactly how asylum applications are filed and decided on in Israel and how many days/weeks/moths the Interior Ministry hast to make decisions. That document also contains information regarding appeals, etc. But obviously, both Ginger’s post and the document she posted are “too cloaked in officious legalistic” for you to understand! Can you even read? What kind of a psychotic moron are you, Benny?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Hey I see that Eis’s reply to me is going to be “pending” in the usual Interior Ministry manner, that is, there will be from her replies to 0.07% of my inquiries (my requests will all be denied) and for the other 99.93% nothing whatsoever will be heard and this will still be the case six years later. Cuz you know it takes a lot of time to sharpen a pencil and adjust the seat back and the lighting and get the proper paper, which she might have to order, and then reading what I wrote will take another four years and you know it’s complicated even though they are SO motivated. And then I’ll get a huge document from Eis’s moldering file drawer with a lot of “said rule of law 43-467p-55-no-go-sit-in-Holot-67(c)(1)(a)-WTFRU-doing-here-(./go-away)(1)(b) clauses whereby it is stipulated by said rule of law that said clause renders you a nonperson unless hereby otherwise nondismissed and dismissed you will be*–here’s $3500 and a plane ticket now get lost if you know what’s good for you we are so humane and so generous–next”

            *pursuant to established case law 47-569-jello-2015: “They are leaving. One way or another they are going.”

            Reply to Comment
          • BigCat

            Brian/”Ben”, maybe you should let Ellen and Ginger hammer out their points if they still think that they have not made their points. If you don’t mind I will remind you again that Ginger called you “a pig” and told you long ago that she will not respond to any of your posts to her because of the incendiary comments you bombarded her with in the past many of which has sexual content. Why then do you insist on- and keep acting like a creepy freak?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Oh we’re having a little troll squall blow in again. It’s raining lies. Oh dear. But so sorry, you’re creepily stalking me, not the other way around. And you and your pals are the ones who produce a steady stream of creepy sexual comments here not the other way around. You seem to have forgotten these inconvenient facts. Oh and you brazenly lie (we’ve lost count it’s so many many times) when you say “bombarded her with in the past many of which had sexual content).” Brian made one little old in context comment back in the day–when your alter ego was in her over the top shrieking, pouncing, harridan and martinet phase (don’t deny it–everyone saw it)–about Eis waxing erotic over Naftali Bennet. Big whoopie doo. We’re scandalized. What a bunch of crap. Eis is the one who bombarded people. Outrageously. Eis was the provocateur and you know it. And you are the one who constantly bombards me with deranged filth. This was all mind you in reference to Mr. Shrapnel in the Ass himself who was bragging about killing Arabs and shrieking from the Knesset podium. Lest we forget. Go tell it to the Marines kid.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            2. With regard to your second argument, the link below points to more accurate figures than the ones you provided. Among others, it talks about hundreds of thousands as I stated and explains it in this manner: “Beginning in the 1990s, however, many foreign migrants have arrived in Israel as temporary workers. Some entered under special visas allocated under guest worker programs designated for certain fields such as construction, agriculture, and eldercare. Others entered illegally and stayed.[4] The migrant population in Israel is diverse and was recently estimated as including approximately 400,000 ….”

            http://www.loc.gov/law/help/guestworker/israel.php

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            3. With regard to your last point, I will point out that not only African migrants who have overstayed the duration of their residence permit are deported from Israel, but individuals from across the globe (from the Philippines to Russia and from Thailand to China and Moldova). You do agree with me, don’t you Ellen, that when the media ONLY highlights the deportation of illegal African migrants, the impression will inevitably be created that there is a ‘race thing’ going on. But, you see, Ellen, it is only an impression. “Impressions” and facts are two separate things as you very well know. All I ask of you is to be fair to Israel and maintain healthy proportion and perspective in criticizing Israel, because I can assure you that almost all Israelis are like you when it comes to morality, justice and “what-ought-to be”!

            See also: subtitle: Changes to the Migrant Labor Policy of this link http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/israel-balancing-demographics-jewish-state

            Reply to Comment
        • Article 26 of the Convention (not under reservation at time of signing):

          Article 26 – Freedom of movement

          Each Contracting State shall accord to refugees lawfully in its territory the right to choose their place of residence and to move freely within its territory subject to any regulations applicable to aliens generally in the same circumstances.

          Article 6, defining “in the same circumstances,” above:

          Article 6 – The term “in the same circumstances”

          For the purposes of this Convention, the term “in the same circumstances” implies that any requirements (including requirements as to length and conditions of sojourn or residence) which the particular individual would have to fulfil for the enjoyment of the right in question, if he were not a refugee, must be fulfilled by him, with the exception of requirements which by their nature a refugee is incapable of fulfilling.

          —-

          Holot fails Article 26. Repeatedly Israeli authorities have offered money and deportation as the sole way out of Holot. The High Court has twice considered mass refugee detention and twice struck it down. A hearing this summer will focus on the third Knesset attempt to keep refugees in camps. Years ago the High Court forbade forced deportation without asylum hearing. Imprisoning until refugees “agree” to leave has been the Knesset’s answer. Indefinite detention or withdrawal of plea is hardly a choice at all consistent with the Convention. The new version of the “infiltrator” amendment, to be heard in Court this summer, allows the State to withhold a percentage of any earned income (if not in prison!) as payment for Israeli social insurance; however, if one agrees to leave the country, all withholding is returned at time of exist. This is not how social insurance works; one pays a premium for coverage, one does not get the premium back if (ideally) coverage is never used. This is just another scheme to simultaneously increase hardship for remaining in the country while offering a cash incentive (get your withholdings back!) if you will just, please Lord, leave.

          Article 23, also not under reservation at time of signing, reads

          —-

          Article 23 – Public relief

          The Contracting States shall accord to refugees lawfully staying in their territory the same treatment with respect to public relief and assistance as is accorded to their nationals.

          —-

          As I do not think Israeli citizens are returned a surcharge on their social insurance premium upon “final exit” from their land of birth, the surcharge scheme violates the Convention as well.

          In deciding to close Holot the Court relied on Knesset passed prior Basic Law. What is really happening in the Holot case line is that the Knesset is asserting immunity from even its prior laws. You can see this as well in the formation of the government. Just a few months before the outgoing Knesset had limited future ministerial positions with a 70 vote override. The incoming coalition could muster only 61 but moved beyond the limit for coalition swaps. The issue beyond refugee lives is whether Knesset whim is supreme or whether it must at least abide by the rules of its prior acts. This is actually a rather weak constitutional position in itself, but is being resisted furiously by the national right.

          Only the High Court can stop this. Will they? That’s what’s at stake this summer.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Mr. Greg Pollock,

            1. The Articles of the Convention you mentioned apply only to “refugees” as you stated. In the case of “Robel” and others in Holot, said Articles do not apply, because either (a) they did not apply for asylum, or (b) they applied, but their applications were rejected. Only successful applicant are “refugees” within the meaning of the Convention.

            2. This +972mag-article claims that that the published story of “Robel” is an “affidavit”.But here are the problems with that claim: there is no way to verify that (a) we are dealing with a sworn statement, i.e. an “affidavit”, (b) in which Court/country the affidavit was made and (c) the circumstances thereof. Beyond that, we (d) don’t know for a fact that “Robel” indeed applied for asylum. In fact, “Robel” might done something and innocently believed in his subjective mind that he has filed for asylum when in fact no such application exists in the eyes of the law. And even if “Robel” did file for asylum, we don’t (e) know for a fact that he indeed was neither heard nor received any decision in his case before his detention and voluntary deportation. All the article did is to make claims that are wholly and utterly unverifiable. On what basis then do you believe any of what is printed here?

            Regardless:

            3. Let’s assume that the story of “Robel” is true, the questions that arise then are these: where the hell was his – excuse me – stupid lawyer?! If he did not have a lawyer, why not? The lawyer could have asked for- and gotten a temporary Injunction/restraining Order from the Court forbidding his detention and he would have avoided the voluntary deportation until his case has been heard and decided on. If he did not have a lawyer, it was incumbent on those Israeli “human rights” NGOs to assist him in finding a lawyer. In Israel such lawyers are paid by the Sate. Apparently both the lawyer (if he had any) and the so-called “human rights” NGOs failed “Robel” so miserably and are now blaming Israel for their negligence, stupidity and breathtaking incompetence? I don’t think that’s fair.

            4. Holot is not a prison! It is an open detention center were detainees are able to come and go and leave the facility, but are not able to work legally in Israel and must report for three daily roll calls in the morning, midday and at night, and are not able to leave from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Compared to top European countries like The Netherlands , Germany and the UK, Israel’s practice is very humane, because in the mentioned countries, failed asylum seekers (including minors) are actually locked up in prison cells 23hrs a day like criminals and in the same prison facility for criminals! Again, a comparative study is always helpful for a fair assessment of the asylum seekers’ situation in Israel.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Ginger Eis

      “My flight was at the beginning of March 2015. There were three Eritreans who were sent with me on the same flight. At Ben-Gurion Airport we were given Israeli traveling documents valid for three months, visa confirmation paper for Rwanda, $3,500 in cash, and our flight tickets.”

      Thank you Israel for the humanity you show in this kind of cases.

      In Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, France, Austria, the United Kingdom, etc. African refugees are KILLED (by strangulation, suffocation, asphyxiation, etc.) during deportation by our (hihi hihi) Eminently Civilized Europeans!

      No single refugee has met his death at the hand of any Israeli Official, on the contrary, the “refugees” receive substantial amounts of money to go home and build a life. That – in part attests to the Moral Superiority Of The Jewish State vis-à-vis European States.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ellen L.

        So the argument is “they should be happy we don’t kill them?” That speaks for itself.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          1. No, Ellen, not at all. You are not just putting words in my mouth, but rather forcing words into my mouth. You do agree with, don’t you Ellen, that doing such is not at all kosher, yes? Good. I will forgive you this time around. The State Of Israel took care of the individuals mentioned in this story for as much as she could. At the end of the day, Israel bought them plane tickets, put large sums of money into their pockets and sent them on their way home. My only hope is that Israel doubles that amount of money and pays it out in Euros, not dollars (€7000.- per person thus). That will save Israel several tens of millions of dollars in the long run and spare us the criticism we get from, e.g. you, Ellen.

          2, In contrast to the generous way Israel treats deportees, 25 Nigerian Asylum seekers have been killed by Germany alone (and I am not counting the deaths other illegal migrants from other African countries in Germany yet). This is just one example of the shameful stuff that go on throughout our ParadiseEurope – from Norway down to Italy:

          “KOLA BANKOLE
          Nigerian asylum seeker
          Died 31 August, Germany

          Case details: Kola Bankole was due to be deported from Frankfurt to Nigeria. In order to deport him, police officers at Frankfurt airport bound, gagged and injected him with a large dose of sedatives.
          Action taken: An investigation was launched into Bankole’s death but the prosecuting authorities concluded that charges of manslaughter through negligence could not be brought against any of the officers concerned and that the use of physical force and restraints were sanctioned by law.
          The death led to angry representations from the Nigerian Embassy which claimed that 25 Nigerians had died in police custody in Germany over the past three years.
          Prosecutions: No police officer was ever charged in connection with Bankole’s death. However, a doctor involved in the attempted deportation was ordered to pay DM5000 to a charitable organisation after being charged with ‘failing to render assistance’.”

          Reply to Comment
    3. Jackdaw

      If only half of what “Robel” says is true, than it’s still a national disgrace.
      Shame on Israel for not following through and ensuring that these migrants find a haven.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ellen L.

      I’m weighing in again only to say that this is the last time I will be commenting on a 972 article. The level of nastiness and name-calling sheds zero light on the issues at hand, and I have no wish to participate in such a pointless conversation. On parting, however, I will simply say that I stand fully by everything I’ve written, and in reading through legal documents and reports written by Hotline, other advocacy groups, and academic researchers, I find no evidence to suggest that Israel has treated this population in accordance with the generally accepted norms of western democracies, or that there is any concerted plan at this moment to do anything with regard to this population other than to try its best to get rid of them. I do think people would do far better to open their ears and listen to the testimonies of people like the gentleman quoted in this article and in other reports, rather than try to make everything they hear conform to an inflexible and ore-determined political point of view that treats these refugees as abstractions of policy and not as real living and breathing human beings. Finally, I don’t for the life of me understand people who feel the ongoing need to argue with everything they read in a publication whose very outlook they so vehemently seem to disagree with from the start. Are you trying to convince others or yourselves? You’re of course free to hold any views you like, but trying to rebut everything you read in 972 strikes me more as an exercise in silliness than any attempt at real and meaningful debate, which requires always challenging one’s assumptions and beliefs. Which is why I’m opting out. I frankly have better arguments elsewhere. I’m truly sorry it is that way, but so it goes.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        You are completely projecting, Ellen. What exactly is it that I did wrong? I “tried to rebut everything published on +972mag, is that it? Why do you have a problem with that? And why do you believe everything published on +972mag? Everyone can see that I was very polite to you and tried hard to provide information. If anyone was ever hostile, your last response to me shows that you were. I challenge you to point out where I called you names or was disrespectful to you. I also don’t see any post where any other person has called you names or disrespected you. If you disagreed with my responses to you, all you need(ed) to do is to say (a) I disagree and (b) here is why. If I find it necessary I will either rebut or concur. You did neither and now here you are weeping and mourning, making wild accusations, blaming everyone else, engaging in self-pity, calling names (surprise, surprise) while fleeing? That’s unfortunate, Ellen. I am not holding you back from going elsewhere as you said. Try Electronicintifada and/or Mondoweiss and/or Al Jazeera and/or etc. Fare thee well, Ellen.

        Reply to Comment
    5. Click here to load previous comments