African Asylum Seekers Demand Rights in Israel, Which Vows to Kick Them Out

Thousands of East African asylum seekers in Israel face being thrown out of a country that built itself through refugees

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An African woman holds an Israeli flag as thousands of African migrants take part in a rally on Jan. 7, 2014, in Tel Aviv

African refugees living in Israel are staging a series of protests, marching on public squares, foreign embassies and government offices in the hope that international attention will provide what Israelis have not: an opportunity to remain in the country they risked their lives to reach.

Israel does not want them, and last year it completed a formidable fence on the Egyptian border that’s doing an effective job of keeping what Israelis call “infiltrators” from reaching the Promised Land. But what to do about the roughly 50,000 who have arrived over the past half a decade and are already in the country?

If Israel acted according to its obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention — which, as a freshly minted nation of refugees, Israel played a significant role in creating — the government would review the individual claims of refugees, and either designate them officially as refugees or send them back home, provided they do not face persecution there.

The problem is that most of the refugees are from Sudan, where simply entering Israel carries a 10-year prison sentence, or Eritrea, where the threat of retaliation to returnees is regarded as so real that in countries where their claims are viewed, 90% of pleas for asylum are granted, according to human-rights groups. So rather than deport the 50,000, Israel is making life uncomfortable for them — sending thousands to a remote desert camp, where they are locked down at night and must report for roll call three times a day.

(MORE: Out of Africa: Israel Confronts a New Generation of ‘Infiltrators’)

“This means in effect indefinite detention,” the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees complained on Monday in a statement. The agency scolded Israel for calling them “infiltrators” rather than “asylum seekers” and said Israel’s “current policy and practices create fear and chaos among asylum seekers, not taking into account their specific situation.”

Human-rights groups call the situation confounding. “The policy is one of not having a real policy,” says Bill Van Esveld, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, the New York City–based advocacy organization. “And these people have been living in a legal gray zone for a very long time.”

For several years, the gray zone offered the Africans a measure of freedom. They found work in the informal economy, and a measure of support from the compassionate elements in Israeli society, like the staff at a South Tel Aviv elementary school for children of refugees, celebrated in the documentary Strangers No More, which won an Oscar in 2011.

(VIDEO: Israel Prepares to Deport Children of Migrant Workers)

Last year, however, simmering public resentment of the black-skinned foreigners found a focus. A series of crimes blamed on “infiltrators” sparked rallies against the Africans and isolated attacks. Since then, immigration police have made numerous sweeps, and businesses owned by Africans, once tolerated, have been ordered shut. “So the gray zone is getting blacker all the time,” says Van Esveld.

All of which makes the Africans’ own protests all the more striking. It began in mid-December, when more than 100 left the desert holding facility on foot, on a journey to protest in Jerusalem. On Sunday night, tens of thousands filled Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square — calling a general strike from their jobs such as dishwashing and house cleaning (yet tidying up the public space afterward, reporters admiringly noted). On Monday, a column of several hundred marched up the city’s shore road, holding aloft a sign reading “I’m black and I’m proud” and chanting “Free-dom” in English. In the traffic lanes that police escorts temporarily blocked to make way for the marchers, a few horns tooted support.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not moved. “I’d like to make clear that protests and strikes won’t help,” he said Monday. “As we were able to stem the illegal infiltration of our borders, we are steadfast in our commitment to evict those who entered before we closed the border.”

85 comments
SamhareAnware
SamhareAnware

Wow! Israelis want equal opportunity and fair treatment to them but not share the same  ideology for other. Those people who currently reside in Israel are not the authentic Jewish people they are European descendent who were converted to Judaism the Eritrean/Ethiopian and Egyptian and Sudan are the TRUE and REAL Jewish. Not those fake one living now.

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Read more: Israel: African Asylum Seekers Stage Mass Protests | TIME.com http://world.time.com/2014/01/07/african-asylum-seekers-demand-rights-in-israel-which-vows-to-kick-them-out/#ixzz2rVu8yJwV

jarlaxleartemis1
jarlaxleartemis1

They are not Israelis. They have no business being in Israel. They already have their own countries called South Sudan and Ethiopia.

jarlaxleartemis1
jarlaxleartemis1

They do not belong in Israel. They are illegal immigrants. They should go back to where they came from.

Joe Robinson
Joe Robinson

Everyone familiar with the situation knows they are being treated differently because they are black. I'm not sure they even bother to deny it. Certainly, the Jerusalem Post doesn't.

Clara Peña
Clara Peña

What is to be solved when they're mounting racism over all?

buzzk
buzzk

Israel: A shining beacon of light and democracy in the middle east.

More shared values.

Obaid Zia
Obaid Zia

I'm sorry but did someone really just say that EUROPEAN WHITE Jews have lived in that land FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS. Amazing.

김무식
김무식

감사합니다 고맙습니다 건강하세요 행복 따로 준비하지마라 지금 당장 행복하라 살아있는 것 중에 목적없이 존재하는 것은 없다 상대방에게 지는 것이야 말로 결국은 '이기는 방법'이다 千千爲敵 一夫勝之 未若自勝 爲戰中上 전장에 나가 수천의 적을 혼자 싸워 이기는 것보다 미약한 자신을 이기는 것이 용감한 전사 중에 최고이다

Roger Layton
Roger Layton

Wrong again, CNN. Many of these so-called asylum-seekers are radical Muslims who want to kill Jews.

Monica Godo
Monica Godo

Of course, I cannot know for sure in all the cases. But a film has come to mind. Radu Mihaileanu's "Live and become".

Fabian Mauricio Rojas Ceballos
Fabian Mauricio Rojas Ceballos

Prison camps, hopefully Israel citizens stop tolerating these actions but it would seem the general population is OK with these barbaric actions

Fabian Mauricio Rojas Ceballos
Fabian Mauricio Rojas Ceballos

So sad but not surprised Israel are the new Nazis stealing land killing children and woman history will judge them

Ossie Sharon
Ossie Sharon

Ian, the people calling themselves "Palestinians" are almost all not indigenous. The term was taken to confuse people into believing what you do. Most came from surrounding countries when the Jews created an economically viable system in the early 1900s. The root of the name is taken from "Philistines," who came from the Aegean Sea area, but very, very few are related to them.

Noé Álvarez
Noé Álvarez

We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We all want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful.

TAHKICT
TAHKICT

I think building projects and handing out food stamps will solve Israel’s problem.  ;D

Mohsen Faghfoor Maghrebi
Mohsen Faghfoor Maghrebi

Typical defense of people like you . . . its ok to kill arabs cause natzies killed many jews . . .

James Jones
James Jones

Really, just like Nazi's? where are the concentration camps, the ovens, the gas chambers..Do you have any idea what the Nazi's did? It's unbelievable the horrors of that regime.. Lining people up in ditches and shooting them, just because of their religion..

James Jones
James Jones

yes, i know Jews who go to other countries and "rescue" jews, hopefully before they're slaughtered.

James Jones
James Jones

You have to understand the Jewish experience in context. The whole world hates the Jews, have for centuries. And no one has experienced ethnic cleansing, ie genocide as the Jews have. When 6 million are slaughtered while the world just looks on, you get a bit testy.. The only way they can protect themselves, is to maintain a safe haven with a majority government. There are arab states that would wipe them off the planet tomorrow. Cann't say I approve but those are shoes I'll never have to walk in..

Mohawk Feathers Huber
Mohawk Feathers Huber

I think it is safe to say that Christianity has conquered the majority of the world and declaring it all their homeland.

Arlo Custodio
Arlo Custodio

each race has right to protect its own from dilution

Iranian Cartoonist
Iranian Cartoonist

I start working for Jews as handyman in religion school and I need to go and left my job because they using me in all kind job to they make more money I became sick after working long hours move items in cold -30 ..I thinks Canada should watch and carefully also to give right to all nations .Canada pay equal to all religions

Alexander Key
Alexander Key

Russia and Israel should go back to having Kings. Because the rest of the world is not buying the fantasy that either one of them are democracies.

Ian Magus
Ian Magus

Is any religion owed a homeland? Do American or European Christians have a right to uproot both the Israelis and Palestinians because they're Christian and they want a Christian homeland where Jesus hailed from? It's essentially the same. You're giving "ownership" of the land to a group of people who have absolutely no recent ancestral ties to the land merely based on a religious belief. The people with the most legitimate ancestral claims to that area are likely to be those who never traveled far from the region at all. That would be Palestinians and Egyptians, not Hungarians, Poles, Russians, etc.

Nadia NA
Nadia NA

i'm amazed at the bias and stupidity of many of these comments. 'Illegal' immigration, however you want to define it is not something most countries are very good at dealing with let alone the majority of the 'western' world. However, Israel is not innocent of prejudice against non-jews/immigrants living within it's borders and sadly is an image of history repeating itself when it comes to descrimination and segregation. Just look at the community of mainly philipino guestworkers and under which conditions they are permitted to remain in Israel, modern slavery at it's finest (guest workers basically belong to their employee, when that employee passes away, their right to remain in the country is no longer valid, I'm sure this may be common in other societies) and who are osterersized due to their mainly christain practices (in some instances there has been evidence of guest workers also taking on jewish traditions) which are consider by 'some' isreaelis to dilute their traditions and pose as a threat to their 'identity'. BUT you can't lump everyone in together.

Mohsen Faghfoor Maghrebi
Mohsen Faghfoor Maghrebi

That is foolish ! Its like a bully kick you out of your home and then suddenly after thousands of years you became a bully and return to take back your home but your home is not the same as it was ! cause its somebody else home ! you cant just kick them out to get back your home

Mohsen Faghfoor Maghrebi
Mohsen Faghfoor Maghrebi

Israel Governors are racists . . . I love Jewish people ok ? but Israel governors act exactly like Natzis

ChrisRichmond
ChrisRichmond

They should just help them get their country back on their feet so they can be independent again.  Same can be said with many countries doing bad. so much work can be done. Build schools, farms. No reason their government shouldn't be able to be functioning again. 

RS Helms
RS Helms

The problem is ... they are not citizens, and mostly the UN ... They cannot demand the same Rights as the Citizen... Neither here... Do like the Muslims, put them in camps, like Hungry did the Iraq refugees. and like we did at one time. but the only social system liberals consider is socialism (Marxism)...

RS Helms
RS Helms

I Bet the "Refugees" are Muslim.

Jeffrey Wu
Jeffrey Wu

They were there for thousands of years before they were rudely kicked out by the Romans. It's about time the Jews get to have their own homeland again.

Helena Kovac-Giese
Helena Kovac-Giese

According to a comment by Yehuda Elyada : "The infiltrators are not, legally speaking, asylum seekers. They came from Egypt, not their homeland, and the status of asylum seeker is not a perpetual attribute. According to the relevant treaties, the status holds only after crossing the first border and expires when the refugee moves on to another country." Read more: Israel: African Asylum-Seekers Stage Mass Protests | TIME.com http://world.time.com/2014/01/07/african-asylum-seekers-demand-rights-in-israel-which-vows-to-kick-them-out/#ixzz2pmiTn0Hm

SamhareAnware
SamhareAnware

You sound very disrupt person search about their situation before you make childish assumption.

buzzk
buzzk

If Muslims want to kills Jews, how come Jews are doing 90% of the killing?

Oh yeah, the perpetual victim excuse thing....riiiiight. Nazi-Moozlem-anti-Semites...Got it.

buzzk
buzzk

Ah yes, the Palestinians are not real people canard. Who are real people? The Jews, only Israeli (likudniks especially) Jews. Always remember the words of Rabbi Yosef...."The Goyim (Non-Jews, Americans) are the donkey slaves of the Jews. They have no other purpose than to serve the people of Israel." That was 2010 and seemed like an aberration but it just came up again. An article a few days ago in Haaretz quoted a former haredi : "Samuel Katz, who was brought up as a Satmar but later became secular, boys in the community are taught that non-Jews aren’t quite human. Speaking from Berlin, where he is doing biomedical research on a Fulbright fellowship, Katz explained that growing up in such a community, “you don’t see commonality with people who aren’t Jewish. There is a completely different taxonomy of people. There are Jews and then there are non-Jews, who don’t have souls.”


Realworldnonfantasyland
Realworldnonfantasyland

Thats pretty much how business work.  The people in charge pay employees to make them money

DrorBenAmi
DrorBenAmi

sorry ian, it is not essentially the same thing.....jesus said to the gentile woman that it was not right to give to the dogs the bread of the children.....


nowhere in the new testament does god or jesus promise the land of canaan to the gentiles....


the whole argument is based on whether you believe in the god of abraham, isaac and jacob or you don't.....


the 5th book of moses clearly states that god would expel the israelites for a long time and then bring them back from all over the world......either you believe this really is god's word or you don't.....it has nothing to do with historical claims....

Realworldnonfantasyland
Realworldnonfantasyland

Maybe if the Mormons were threatened with extinction by Coloradians, Nevadans, Wyomings, Idahoians, Arizonians, then I think it would be alright for us to give them a land where they are able to protect themselves like Utah.  I think that would be fair

DrorBenAmi
DrorBenAmi

so, you think turkey should give back their land to the byzantine christians ???

Realworldnonfantasyland
Realworldnonfantasyland

Besides the fact that they aren't all white anit religious males... They are different races and male and female

Realworldnonfantasyland
Realworldnonfantasyland

And if you don't like being the one getting paid, then by all means, take a chance and start your own business.  Not as difficult as people make it seem.  I've seen poor friends of mine do it