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asylum seekers

  • In lead-up to mass deportation, Israel closes Holot detention facility

    For the past four years, asylum seekers and their supporters have demanded that the Holot detention center be shut down. Now it’s finally happening, but not at all how they envisioned. The Israeli government shut down the Holot detention facility, the open-air, desert detention facility built for African asylum seekers, on Wednesday after four years of operation. More than 13,000 asylum seekers were imprisoned in Holot without trial over the course of its operation, as part of the Israeli government’s efforts to force African asylum seekers out of the country. [tmwinpost] The hundreds of asylum seekers who remained in Holot…

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  • Israel halts asylum seeker deportations — for now

    Israeli authorities signal they plan to keep the deportation plan on schedule. By Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man and Joshua Leifer Israeli authorities announced that they will temporarily halt, until further notice, the deportation of African asylum seekers to Rwanda and Uganda. Israel will, however, continue to issue deportation notices, and asylum seekers who are already in prison for refusing deportation will not be released. Those processes will continue, the state told the High Court of Justice on Wednesday, “so that the [deportation] plan’s timeline is not delayed.” The decision to temporarily halt the deportations came in response to a petition that…

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  • Israel's secret deportation plan faces biggest challenge yet

    A petition on behalf of 119 human rights activists to Israel's High Court of Justice is the most serious challenge yet to the Israeli government's plan to deport tens of thousands of asylum seekers.  The Israeli government’s plan to deport tens of thousands of African asylum seekers may face its most serious hurdle as the country’s High Court of Justice hears a challenge to the deportation plan, slated to begin in two weeks. The deportation plan is based on an agreement between Israel and Rwanda, which Israel insists must remain secret and which Rwanda has denied even exists. [tmwinpost] Supreme…

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  • Hundreds of women march in south Tel Aviv against deportations

    To mark International Women's Day, asylum seekers and long-term residents of south Tel Aviv march together to oppose the deportation of refugees from Israel, and call for the rehabilitation south Tel Aviv's neighborhoods.  By Yael Marom Over 700 women, both asylum seekers and long-term residents of south Tel Aviv, gathered Friday morning for a solidarity through the city's southern neighborhoods, calling to stop the planned deportation of asylum seekers from the country. The women marched from the Mizrahi-feminist center Achoti, until they reached Levinsky Park, while chanting slogans such as "residents and refugees refuse to be enemies," and "no to deportation, yes…

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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…

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  • Ruling gives a drop of hope for asylum seekers facing deportation in Israel

    An appeals tribunal recognizes an Eritrean man's refugee status on the grounds that he fled the Eritrean army, rejecting a policy that has resulted in one of the lowest refugee recognition rates in the world. Attorney Elad Cahana, who worked on the case, speaks to +972 Magazine about its implications for the thousands of asylum seekers Israel is planning to deport. A Justice Ministry appeals tribunal last week handed down what many are hoping will be a groundbreaking ruling for Eritrean asylum seekers in Israel. A judge ruled that desertion from the Eritrean army, which forms at least part of the…

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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…

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  • Live blog: Global protests against Israeli plans to deport refugees

    Protests are expected outside Rwandan embassies around the world Wednesday as Israel moves forward with its plan to deport tens of thousands of asylum seekers, most of whom fled Eritrea and Sudan. By +972 Magazine Staff [This live blog has ended.] Activists hope Israel's deportation plan can be stopped if Rwanda pulls out of its secret deal with Israel. Israeli officials claim they have a secret agreement with an African country — widely presumed to be Rwanda —according to which that country will accept refugees deported from Israel. Rwandan officials, however, have repeatedly denied the existence of any agreement with Israel and…

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  • A wall and a war: Two things every fascist regime needs

    Both Trump and Netanyahu want to secure their rule by attacking liberal, democratic forces. But in order to do so, they need two things: a wall and the promise of eternal war.  By Alon Mizrahi "George Soros is funding the campaign against deporting infiltrators… Obama deported two million infiltrators and they didn't say anything." These remarks were made by Prime Minister Netanyahu during the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, according to a report by Channel 10. The prime minister's choice of words is confusing, perhaps deliberately: is he referring to deporting foreigners in Israel or the U.S.? If it is…

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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…

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  • Asylum seekers sent to Rwanda warn: 'If you don’t want to die, stay in Israel'

    Israeli officials often imply that African asylum seekers sent to Rwanda will receive legal status and the ability to build a life there. Testimonies collected in a new report paint an entirely different — and much grimmer — picture.  “I saw 400 people [in the Mediterranean]. They drowned […] many children died, I remember. I don’t have the strength to talk about it.” “[In the Sahara] people died and we buried them […] At night it returns to our head. It returns. I don’t want to remember. It wakes me up, what I saw, people dying, no food.” "[In Uganda] they…

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  • Campaign for refugees a rare reminder of our collective morality

    The campaign to stop the deportation of the asylum seekers is an encouraging reminder that Israeli society's collective conscience has not yet totally disappeared.  It is impossible not to gaze in astonishment at the Israeli public's overwhelming mobilization for asylum seekers under threat of deportation. From educators to academics, from pilots who say they will refuse to fly asylum seekers against their will to residents of south Tel Aviv who oppose the deportation, it seems that not a single sector of Israeli society has refrained from expressing its contempt for the move. [tmwinpost] The campaign is also understandably human, and there are…

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