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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…

  • 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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  • Asylum seekers to Israel's president: 'Look us in the eyes'

    Israel plans to begin deporting tens of thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers in the coming months. Hundreds gather outside the President's Residence in Jerusalem, hoping to tell him their stories. By Yael Marom Several hundred asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan demonstrated in front of Israeli President Rivlin’s official residence in Jerusalem Monday night, calling on him to stop planned mass deportations. The asylum seekers, including many women and children, were joined by dozens of Jewish Israelis, among them several Holocaust survivors. [tmwinpost] The demonstrators chanted “we are refugees,” “refugees don’t deport refugees,” and “the deportations are a…

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  • 'I won't fly refugees to their deaths': The El Al pilots resisting deportation

    At least three pilots for Israel's flag carrier publish declarations publicly refusing to take part in the forced deportation of asylum seekers should they be asked to. The Israeli government is giving tens of thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers a stark choice: deportation or indefinite imprisonment. By Yael Marom At least three El Al pilots in recent days published public declarations of their refusal to take part in the deportation of asylum seekers to countries where their lives may be in danger. Captain Yoel Piterbarg, a pilot on Israel's national airline, wrote the following on Facebook (Hebrew): Israel is populated…

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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. [tmwinpost] 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…

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  • Between determination and despair: Meet the refugees fighting deportation

    The Israeli government has begun the first stages in its planned deportation of African asylum seekers. Refugee activists and advocates are preparing to fight it.  The start of the new year marked the first stages of the Israeli government's plan to deport the roughly 40,000 asylum seekers, most from Eritrea and Sudan, currently living in Israel. The government announced in early January that asylum seekers have three months to leave the country; those who remain in Israel after the three months will face a choice: deportation or prison. [tmwinpost] The Population and Immigration Authority also announced that it was recruiting additional inspectors to carry out…

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  • It is our silence that allows Israel to deport asylum seekers

    Fifty years on, Martin Luther King Jr.’s words resonate more than ever: those who are silent are all part of the problem. It is they who have allowed Israel to neglect south Tel Aviv and to condemn asylum seekers to torture and death. By Sapir Sluzker-Amram On January 15, Americans observed Martin Luther King Day, marking 50 years since the civil rights leader was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee. The struggle for equal rights in the United States was not won in court but in the streets — by people who had had enough of the status quo and organized to effect change. In 1965, the…

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  • The new 'choice' for asylum seekers: Deportation or prison

    Israel finally plans to close its desert detention facility for African asylum seekers. Refugee advocates worry it could be the start of something even worse. During a midnight vote on Monday, the Knesset passed a bill that will enable the government to detain asylum seekers indefinitely or deport them to an unspecified country in Africa. The law passed by a margin of 71 to 41. [tmwinpost] The consequences of the law will stem not only from what appears in the text of the bill itself, but also what doesn’t: there is nothing in the bill that mentions deportation. Instead, on…

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  • Why is Israel refusing to teach African asylum seekers Hebrew?

    Israel’s ‘Holot’ detention facility for asylum seekers, which is intended to rob them of so much hope that they’ll leave the country, refuses to provide Hebrew lessons as part of its education program for detainees. The result is empty classrooms and a parallel, asylum seeker-run program. By Omri Du-Nour Israel’s desert detention facility for asylum seekers, “Holot,” has been controversial ever since it was first opened four years ago. The primary aim of the facility, as declared by then-Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who initiated its construction, was to drive African asylum seekers to a state of despair, so that they…

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  • 10 must-read articles for World Refugee Day

    A selection of articles and stories about asylum seekers and refugees in Israel on the occasion of World Refugee Day. (Full disclosure, I couldn't include just 10) It has been more than a decade since refugees from Darfur first began making the dangerous journey across the Sinai desert in order to seek asylum in Israel. Since those early years, Israeli society and successive Israeli governments have become increasingly hostile toward the asylum seekers from Sudan, Eritrea and elsewhere who sought safety and dignity in the country. On the occasion of World Refugee Day, here is a selection of articles about…

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  • WATCH: African refugees rally against Israel's deportation policy

    With Israel's Supreme Court set to rule on Israel's policy of deporting African asylum seekers to countries where they face danger and even death, hundreds of refugees gather in Jerusalem to demand their right to protection. Read more: What will happen to Eritrean asylum seekers after Israel deports them? Despite dangers, Israel sending asylum seekers to home countries

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  • PHOTOS: Americans, Israelis protest Trump refugee ban in J'lm and Tel Aviv

    Dozens of Americans, Israelis and dual nationals protested Trump's refugee and Muslim travel ban in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, drawing on their own families' history of persecution. Dozens of Americans, Israelis and dual American-Israeli citizens protested on Sunday against U.S. President Donald Trump's ban on asylum seekers and citizens of seven predominantly-Muslim countries from entering the United States. As confusion continued to reign over the scope of Trump's Executive Order, with various federal rulings that stayed parts of the ban not being fully implemented, demonstrators hit the streets in Israel's two biggest cities with signs reading, "Never Again," "United States of Immigrants"…

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  • Kerry implicitly acknowledges two states is all but a fantasy now

    The Secretary of State asked if they really wanted to live with the moral consequences of a one-state reality. He doesn't understand this isn't an issue that preoccupies the average Jewish citizen of Israel. Over the past three decades Israel has seen seven prime ministers (and several more elections), political assassinations, two intifadas, a peace accord, four wars and the withdrawal of the Jewish settlers from Gaza. But amidst all this upheaval, one essential fact has remained a constant: Israel has maintained complete control over the lives of the Palestinians who live in Gaza and the West Bank. [tmwinpost] On Wednesday,…

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