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IMMIGRATION AND ISRAEL June 12, 2012

Posted by wmmbb in Human Rights, Humankind/Planet Earth, Israel-Palestine.
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Wealthy countries are magnets for immigrants who are simultaneously fleeing oppression and seeking better a life. Israel is just one more country dealing the problem.

The New York Times reports via The Associated Press that the round-up of immigrants from South Sudan has begun:

Last week, a Jerusalem court ruled last week that the estimated 4,500 migrants from South Sudan in Israel could be expelled.

Some 60,000 Africans have trekked through Egypt and other countries to reach Israel over the past few years. Many are looking for work, while others are seeking political asylum.

A series of rapes and other crimes blamed on migrants has created an angry backlash. Israel has offered cash incentives to those who leave voluntarily.

Israeli officials fear the influx could undermine the country’s Jewish character.

On 4 June, Isabel Kershner reported that the PM intended to complete a 150 mile [over 240 km], 16 foot[about 5 metres] fence now being erected along the border with Egypt. There might be a problem if this land subsequently is found to belong to the Palestinians. The Times report noted:

Still, most African migrants in Israel are from Sudan or Eritrea. Since sending them back could put them at mortal risk, they are afforded blanket protection in Israel, in line with international conventions.

The issue has become an explosive one in Israel. Many African migrants have settled in poor areas of south Tel Aviv and in the southern border town of Eilat, and have met increasing resentment.

Residents of south Tel Aviv complain of rising crime in migrant areas, and have staged noisy demonstrations, egged on by right-wing politicians and activists. At a demonstration in the Shapira Quarter last week, rightists handed out leaflets offering self-defense courses, and protesters chanted, “The people want the Sudanese deported,” holding placards with slogans like, “This is not racism, this is survival.”

Some stores run by African migrants were damaged and looted last month.

“It was better in Sudan,” said Ibrahim Abdullah, 25, an asylum seeker who was idling on the grass in a south Tel Aviv park last week. Mr. Abdullah said that he worked now and again in building, but that he had no money and relied on handouts for food.

Israel’s interior minister, Eli Yishai of the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, was quoted on Friday as saying that “the infiltrators, along with the Palestinians, will quickly bring us to the end of the Zionist dream.” Noting that Israel had its own health and welfare issues, he said, “We don’t need to import more problems from Africa.”

“Most of those people arriving here are Muslims who think the country doesn’t belong to us, the white man,” Mr. Yishai said in an interview with the newspaper Maariv.

Here is a recent report carried by Al Jazeera:

Immigration is a polarizing issue almost everywhere, and it really comes down to ethnic and religious differences. In regard to Israel, refugees will soon realize that convert to Judaism. For example, Ethiopian Jews were airlifted into Israel:

Postscript:

It is argued that Islam saved Jewry in the West and in the East.

Uri Avnery, Anti-African Hysteria sweeps Israel, at CounterPunch concludes:

I am aware that in several other “civilized” countries, migrants are treated as badly, or worse. This does not comfort me in the least.

I am also aware that there is a real problem which has to be solved. But not this way.

As a citizen of a state that calls itself “Jewish”, or even “the state of the Holocaust survivors”, I am disgusted.

I have heard innumerable times about Nazi Jew-hunts, as well as American lynch mobs and Russian pogroms. There is no comparison, of course, but the pictures are popping up in my mind. Can’t help it.

Our treatment of the African refugees and migrants has nothing to do with the old conflict with the Arabs. It cannot be justified with arguments that concern the war and national security.

This is Racism, pure and simple.

Thanks for that Avi. However, I knew that some Israelis would find these actions totally unacceptable. It does not change the policy.

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