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How to fight the demolition of a West Bank school? Start the year early

For years the Israeli government has tried to destroy Khan al-Ahmar’s eco-friendly school, along with the rest of the tiny West Bank hamlet. So the Palestinian Authority cut short the summer break and started the school year early. The students didn’t seem to mind.

By Oren Ziv

Dozens of schoolchildren welcomed the new school year in the West Bank hamlet of Khan al-Ahmar Monday morning, a month and a half before it officially starts, in an attempt to stop the impending demolition of the entire village.

Ever since Israel announced its intention to destroy Khan al-Ahmar and evict its residents, the village’s eco-school, which was built out of tires and mud with funding from an Italian NGO, has become the focal point of the demolition. After the High Court of Justice issued an injunction against the demolition last week, the state asked the court to exclude the school from its ruling, so it could demolish it and prevent the school year from starting early.

The Palestinian school year is officially set to begin on September 1st. The Palestinian Authority, however, had hoped to push back the start date, making it increasingly difficult for Israel to justify demolishing the school while the school year was already in session. Both sides understand the power of the school, which has turned Khan al-Ahmar into such a pressing political and diplomatic issue.

The impending destruction and displacement of Khan al-Ahmar, one of dozen Bedouin villages located in the E1 area between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim, has been called a war crime by rights groups like B’Tselem and condemned by various foreign governments. In the past, pressure by American and European diplomats succeeding in staving off demolitions that seemed imminent. Ever since Israeli High Court gave its go-ahead for the village’s destruction in late May, Khan al-Ahmar has become a site of frenzied activity, including protests, press conferences, and Israeli and international activists and journalists driving up and down the unpaved road that leads to the village.

On Sunday, right-wing Israeli NGO Regavim petitioned the High Court, demanding it intervene and prevent the first day of school from proceeding as planned. The court refused to issue an injunction, instead ruling that Regavim’s petition will be combined with that of the village against the demolition, both of which will be discussed in a hearing set for mid-August.

“Today we declared the opening of the school year in order to stop the attempt by the occupation forces to demolish the school,” said Palestinian Education Minister Dr. Sabri Sidam,...

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Police arrest 10 as Israel prepares to demolish entire village

Dozens of Palestinian, international, and Israeli activists try to stop bulldozers from paving an access road that will make easier the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank.

Israeli security forces arrested 10 Palestinians Wednesday as they began preparing for the demolition of an unrecognized Bedouin village in the West Bank.

IDF and police forces, along with representatives from the Civil Administration — the military body entrusted with controlling and monitoring the Palestinian population in the West Bank — arrived at the Khan al-Ahmar at dawn. With the help of bulldozers, they began paving an access road that would allow for the passage of heavy equipment that will be used to demolish the village and evict its residents.

The preparations come a month after Israel’s High Court formally approved a plan to demolish Khan al-Ahmar — home to over 170 people, including 90 children — and forcibly transfer them to an area near a garbage dump close to the West Bank town of Abu Dis. Now that no legal hurdles remain, Israeli army bulldozers can freely arrive at the village, caught between the Israeli settlements of Kfar Adumim and Ma’ale Adumim, at any time.

Meanwhile, the village has become an internationally-known site of resistance to Israel’s practice of forcibly transferring Palestinians out of Area C of the West Bank, under full Israeli military control — an area many members of the Israeli government advocate annexing.

Dozens of Palestinian activists, as well as a few Israelis and internationals, joined Khan al-Ahmar’s residents around noon, blocking one of the bulldozers for an hour. The police, who appeared to have come unprepared for the protest, called for reinforcements. Security forces eventually put down the protest, arresting three Palestinian activists. Israeli police then arrested several more protesters on Route 1, which abuts the village, among them a 20-year-old resident of Khan al-Ahmar and her aunt. Police lightly wounded one Palestinian journalist and broke the lens of a camera belonging to a Palestinian photojournalist.

The Palestinian Red Crescent says it treated 35 activists for injuries sustained during the demonstration. Four of the protesters were hospitalized.

Police also arrested B’Tselem’s Field Research Director Kareem Jubran as he was filming the arrests. Jubran was released on Wednesday evening, although the rest of the detainees were kept in the Ma’ale Adumim police station.

Despite the protests, the bulldozers continues to carry out their work. Passersby could have easily thought they were there...

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'We aren't going anywhere': This Palestinian village is preparing for the worst

The residents of Khan al-Ahmar, a tiny hamlet in the West Bank, live in constant fear of a demolition that could come any day now. Dozens of activists take turns staying the night, passing the time by arguing over politics and the World Cup. But despite the numbers, the villagers know that once the bulldozers come, it will be impossible to stop them.

By Oren Ziv

The activists heading to Khan al-Ahmar, a tiny Bedouin village in the West Bank slated for demolition, had a tough choice to make: should they head out from Jerusalem before or after the World Cup match between Japan and Belgium. They eventually settled on a compromise — they left at halftime. At night, the ride from central Jerusalem to the hamlet is short. A few kilometers past the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, there is a small parking lot intended for hikers. But instead of setting off on the path for Nahal Og, the activists walk through an underpass under the main road and reach the village, comprised of a few dozen homes, and a school made of mud and tires.

The activists gather in the school, whose floor is covered in artificial turf. The majority of those present are Palestinian men, who are here to prevent the imminent evictions. For a moment it appears that electricity problems have put the kibosh on the second half of the match, which was broadcasted on a plasma television that someone had brought from home. Very quickly, however, the electricity from the generators and solar panels comes back to life. The vast majority of the crowd supports the Belgians.

“They are testing us,” says Ibrahim Abu Dawoud, 51, who was born in Khan al-Ahmar and has lived here all his life, following the multiple visits by Israeli authorities to the village. This past week, representatives of the Civil Administration, charged with running the day to day of Palestinians under occupation, accompanied by police officers arrived to plan for the demolition. That same night, rumors spread that the eviction would take place the following morning. The village was not destroyed, but residents and activists have been living with the possibility that it could happen any day now.

“They want to check how much pressure we can withstand,” Abu Dawoud adds, just as Japan scores the second goal. “They sent a bulldozer last Tuesday to start doing work for...

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Activists hang photos of Return March dead on Israel-Gaza fence

Answering a call from Palestinian civil society, Israeli activists hang pictures of 119 slain Palestinian demonstrators on barbed wire fence near the Gaza-Israel fence.

By Oren Ziv

Nearly three months after the Great Return March protests in Gaza began, Israeli and international activists hung pictures of 119 slain Palestinian demonstrators on the barbed wire fence just meters from the Gaza-Israel separation barrier.

The activists were responding to a call by the Great Return March steering committee and other Palestinian organizations, including the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), to hang pictures of Palestinian demonstrators killed during the protests in cities around the world to raise awareness about the ongoing crisis in Gaza.

“Following the media coverage of the massacre that Israel carried out against us on the first day of our march, we have been receiving less and less media coverage,” the steering committee said in a statement. “Since the start of the Great March of Return, over 135 unarmed protesters have been shot dead and more than 14,000 wounded by the occupation forces, including children, medical staff, journalists, and the disabled.”

“As Israeli citizens, we wanted to show solidarity with the Palestinian protesters who participated in the Great Return March protests,” said one of the activists, who asked to remain nameless. “We hung pictures in memory of those killed by the [Israeli] army solely because they marched here and to remember that they were demonstrating for freedom and justice for all the people in this land.”

“We went to the Israeli side of the border to send a message to the people in Gaza who have been fighting the occupation and the siege for a long time that their struggle is visible, that their sacrifice was not for nothing,” another activist said. “I personally hope that one day we can live together on this land, free from the occupation.”

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It took only a few minutes for a military jeep to arrive carrying soldiers, who demanded the the activists take down the pictures. The soldiers did not seem to grasp the nature of the protest. When one of the activists asked a soldier about the people in the pictures hung on the fence, he did not answer.

“These are the people you murdered over the past months,” the activist answered for the soldier as he departed – without...

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On Eid al-Fitr, some Palestinians get their first visit to the sea

Traveling from cities and villages across the West Bank, thousands of Palestinians celebrate the holiday of Eid a-Fitr at the beach. For many, it was their first time there. For others, it was their first time in half a century. 

By Oren Ziv

Thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank celebrated the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, on the beaches of Tel Aviv and Jaffa over the past two days. For many, it was their first time there — a visit made possible by special entry permits issued by the army for the holiday.

In the evening hours, between the Jaffa Clock Tower and the beach, van drivers shout, “Nil’in, Beit Sira, Qalandia checkpoint, Hebron,” waiting to fill their vans to drive back to the West Bank. Most of the revelers, however, prefer to spend every minute they can on the beach.

That’s where I meet Raed from the village of Nil’in in the West Bank. “This is my son’s first time at the beach,” Raed says. “He’s very excited.” By his side, in a wheelchair, sits his 85-year-old mother. She bends down to touch the water, which she hasn’t seen for nearly 50 years.

For many Palestinians living in the West Bank, entry permits to Israel unrelated to work or medical care are rare and hard to come by. Over the past several years, during Eid al-Fitr, tens of thousands of Palestinians receive temporary entry permits — and many choose to spend their time at the beach. In the West Bank, only a small part of the Dead Sea is accessible to Palestinians.

Further down the beach in Tel Aviv, I meet a couple from Ramallah in their 30s. They sit on the rocks and watch a police patrol boat near the shore. It is the woman’s first time at the beach. “We crossed by way of the Modi’in checkpoint and there were tons of people from the West Bank on their way here,” she says. “The children just go crazy, they don’t want to leave.”

As we talk, loudspeakers shout instructions and warnings to the swimmers in Hebrew and Arabic. The lifeguards ask those remaining to exit the water, but most aren’t listing. They want to make the most of every moment they have until midnight — when their permits expire and they must return home.

“If only we...

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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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