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…Read More...
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…Read More... | 2 Comments
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…Read More... | 4 Comments
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…Read More... | 2 Comments
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…Read More...
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…Read More... | 2 Comments
The demonstration, held by African asylum seekers, Israelis, and international activists, marks the opening of a new front in the struggle against the deportation. Approximately 2,000 asylum seekers demonstrated outside of the Rwandan embassy in Herzilya on Monday against the Israeli government’s plan to deport them. The demonstrators, joined by Israeli and international human rights activists, chanted “We are Eritrean, we are not Rwandan” and “refugees are not for sale.” [tmwinpost] “Israel must check our asylum requests and provide us protection,” the organizers of the protest said. “We are demanding that the Rwandan embassy oppose any agreements with Israel.” The protest…Read More...
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…Read More... | 12 Comments
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…Read More... | 4 Comments
By approving the decision to deport African asylum seekers to Rwanda and Uganda, Israel has granted legitimacy to two of the most brutal dictators on the continent. By Eitay Mack (translated by Ofer Neiman) The Israeli Supreme Court approved the decision to deport African asylum seekers from Israel. These agreements had previously been made between Israel and states whose identity seemingly remains confidential. But in fact, their identity is known to all: Rwanda and Uganda. The Court’s ruling has given a stamp of approval to two authoritarian regimes and their legal systems, by stipulating that they are capable of upholding the rights of those…Read More... | 5 Comments
The Israeli public and its government need to internalize that 'Israel’s pride,' its wildly successful military export industry, has been an unending nightmare for the people of Africa. How can Netanyahu look the Rwandan and Ugandan people in the eyes? By Itay Mack Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently on a tour of African states of Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Kenya. For decades, Israel’s relationship with the African continent, from South Africa to the Sahara, has been almost entirely based on military and arms exports that have fueled oppression, civil wars and murderous dictatorships. [tmwinpost] Until 1967, the State of…Read More... | 6 Comments
The political arrests of anti-occupation activists is just the latest step in the Right's war against political dissidents. The next stage is anybody's guess. By Itay Mack The arrest of three anti-occupation activists, Ezra Nawi, Guy Butavia, and Nasser Nawajah, and the refusal to let them meet with their attorneys, did not take place as a result of them committing criminal offenses. The arrests were the result of the state's security authorities belief that the activists were participating in the subversion of the existing order — one whose entire purpose is to entrench an irreversible occupation. The remnants of the…Read More... | 2 Comments
Why doesn't the Foreign Ministry care whether Israeli weapons end up in the hands of serial human rights violators such as South Sudan? Israel's greatest champions pride themselves on supporting a flourishing country based on start-up ingenuity that respects democracy and human rights. But do those who call Israel the "start-up nation" and the "only democracy in the Middle East" know just how embroiled the Jewish state is in selling arms to serial human rights violators? Israel's shadowy relationship with tyrannical regimes the world over reared its head Sunday morning when the Foreign Ministry announced its objection to a new…Read More... | 2 Comments
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