If Americans Knew — What every American needs to know about Israel/Palestine

via If Americans Knew – what every American needs to know about Israel/Palestine.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the world’s major sources of instability. Americans are directly connected to this conflict, and increasingly imperiled by its devastation.

It is the goal of If Americans Knew to provide full and accurate information on this critical issue, and on our power – and duty – to bring a resolution.

Please click on any statistic for the source and more information.
Statistics Last Updated: October 25, 2011

Israeli and Palestinian Children Killed
September 29, 2000 – Present

126 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians and 1,476 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis since September 29, 2000. (View Sources & More Information)

Chart showing that approximately 12 times more Palestinian children have been killed than Israeli children

Israelis and Palestinians Killed
September 29, 2000 – Present

Chart showing that 6 times more Palestinians have been killed than Israelis.

1,096 Israelis and at least 6,568 Palestinians have been killed since September 29, 2000. (View Sources & More Information)

Israelis and Palestinians Injured
September 29, 2000 – Present

10,792 Israelis and 59,575 Palestinians have been injured since September 29, 2000. (View Sources & More Information.)

Chart showing that Palestinians are injured at least four times more often than Israelis.

Daily U.S. Military Aid to Israel and the Palestinians
Fiscal Year 2011

Chart showing that the United States gives Israel $8.2 million per day in military aid and no military aid to the Palestinians.

During Fiscal Year 2011, the U.S. is providing Israel with at least $8.2 million per day in military aid and $0 in military aid to the Palestinians. (View Sources & More Information)

Current Number of Political Prisoners and Detainees

Chart showing that Israel is holding 5,604 Palestinians prisoner.

0 Israelis are being held prisoner by Palestinians, while 5,604 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel. (View Sources & More Information)

Demolitions of Israeli and Palestinian Homes
1967 – Present

0 Israeli homes have been demolished by Palestinians and 24,813 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since 1967. (View Sources & More Information)

Chart showing that 24,145 Palestinian homes have been demolished, compared to no Israeli homes.

Israeli and Palestinian Unemployment Rates

Chart depicting the fact that the Palestinian unemployment is around 4 times the Israeli unemployment rate.

The Israeli unemployment rate is 6.4%, while the Palestinian unemployment in the West Bank is 16.5% and40% in Gaza. (View Sources & More Information)

Current Illegal Settlements on the Other’s Land

Israel currently has 236 Jewish-only settlements and ‘outposts’ built on confiscated Palestinian land. Palestinians do not have any settlements on Israeli land. (View Sources & More Information)

Chart showing that Israel has 227 Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land.

Michael Oren Strikes Again, Rewrites History

Ah, Pinkwashing. Is there anything cheerier to wake up to in the morning?

Today, I woke up to to this article, an interview with Israel’s ambassador to the US Michael Oren. Oren, who starred in this blog about a week ago regarding the debacle of trying to forestall CBS News from airing a 60 Minutes piece on the plight of Christian Palestinians.

This time, Oren is preparing for his keynote address at the Equality Forum, an annual LGBTQ conference in Philadelphia. This year, its “featured nation”, inexplicably, is Israel — the nation identified by the UN as the only democracy that limits human rights, the nation carrying out a military occupation of a nation of people for 45 years, the nation doling out wave after wave of anti-democratic legislation aimed at limiting public roles of non-Jews, placing refugees in concentration camps, upholding segregation of women in public spaces, and the list seems endless…

That Israel presents itself as a paradise for LGBT folk is beyond ironic, but it also has a name: PINKWASHING. Pinkwashing is the idea that Israel has conceived of that if it flaunts its relatively good record on LGBT issues, it can divert attention from its anti-democratic, human-rights-violating, occupation-and-conquest-based policies and agendas. (More about pinkwashing here and here.)

And thus, featuring Israel at the Equality Forum, and having the Israeli ambassador as the keynote speaker, has quite rightly been branded the pinkwashing event of the year.

Back to the interview that started this post. It is filled with gems (read: lies, lies, and more lies), but my favorite is this part, which in a nutshell neatly wraps up everything that is wrong, and sick, about how Israel presents the issue:

Michael Oren Reinvents History

What do you say to those that criticize Israel being featured at the Equality Forum?
Israel was fighting for gay rights before the 1967 war. Even when terrorists were blowing up our buses and cafes, there was equality for gays.

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

Where do I begin????
(Well, I will just do my best to deconstruct this for you. )

Israel was fighting for gay rights… Really? Fighting? Fighting whom, exactly? Israel is the STATE. If the state wants someone to have rights, it GRANTS them. Who are these nefarious powers FIGHTING with Israel to prevent gay rights?

…before the 1967 war. Again — REALLY?? Two parts here:

  1. Connecting the issue of gay rights and Israeli-Arab war is at the heart of the pinkwashing mentality: What is the relevance? Are the ARABS those evil geniuses preventing Israel from achieving true equality for gays? And,
  2. Gay rights were not a policy issue prior to 1967, given that, for example, sodomy laws were only taken off the law books in 1988, and even then (swear to the spirits!) it was apparently done only through clerical error (accidentally on purpose). When the legislature voted on the new version of the sex crimes law, they didn’t realize that the final bill did not include the sodomy clause. So actually: Israel, the STATE, never actually voted on the issue, never “fought” for inclusion of gay rights in the law.

Note that the vast majority of LGBT rights in Israel were not passed by law — but rather informed by the courts, in which case, the STATE was often the party objecting to those rights. And to the extent that rights have been legislated or incorporated into national policies — NONE of that has been done under the current government, the one Michael Oren represents. So even if there is credit to be handed out, it isn’t credit they get.

Even when terrorists were blowing up our buses and cafes, there was equality for gays. Again, this weird conflation of Arab violence and gay rights. And is this still before 1967? Is Oren claiming there was a state of ongoing terrorism on buses and cafes before the war in which he apparently fought for gay rights? Because there have been spates of terror attacks in Israel, but the worst of them — particularly those aimed at buses and cafes — were after the collapse of the Oslo peace plan, in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

So is Oren claiming gays have always has rights in Israel? And yet, oddly, that Israel has had to fight for them? And that the fighting was apparently against Arabs — because otherwise, how does this last sentence even compute? “Even when terrorists were blowing up our buses and cafes (bizarre thought trick connection) there was equality for gays”.

(And the more observant among you already noticed (and are probably biting your tongues) that somehow all we are talking about here is “gay rights”. That is Oren’s level of awareness — in this LGBT heaven! — that “gays” are the only ones who need rights, and BY GOD they already have them! He is giving the keynote address at this LGBTQ convention, and he has no fucking clue what LGBTQ even means. Or rather, to him it is just a means to an end. And the Equality Forum is going along with this.)

Thinking about this made me imagine Oren’s vision of Israel’s war in 1967: Amid exploding buses and cafes, running through the smoke and debris are crack Israeli combat troops — carrying rainbow flags. They halt, and create a phalanx before the Arab enemy with whom they are fighting for their gay rights, and they firmly state: This shall not pass!

Which is how this meme was born 🙂

Six Day War History According to Michael Oren

Among Oren’s other lies: Israel (or rather “his” ministry) is the only one in the world that grants spousal privileges to gay partners; that Israel provides shelter to Palestinians who are brutally persecuted in their own culture (that has NEVER happened. EVER. Yes, there is an ex-pat Palestinian community in Israel, but they must hide from the authorities because they will be DEPORTED if caught); that Israel is a LIBERAL DEMOCRACY (while his own party is passing laws that create racial, religious, and sex discrimination); Oren claims that proof of this is that groups like alQaws (the Palestinian organization for gender and sexual diversity) are “headquartered in Israel” rather than in the Palestinian territories… Totally ignoring that East Jerusalem is NOT LEGALLY PART OF ISRAEL, and is considered by those very groups to be PALESTINE… The extent of the hijacking of both Palestinian and Israeli queer issues by this most oppressive Israeli government ever is truly staggering.

Here is a statement by Palestinian Queers for BDS (PQBDS) and Pinkwatching Israel.

Here is an open letter by the first LGBTIQ delegation to Palestine.

The Revolution Will Not Be Polite: The Issue of Nice versus Good

Rachael from the Social Justice League does it again, with this brilliant post about why it is a mistake to confuse “niceness” with “social justice”.

Slightly abridged version here; you can read the whole post via the provided link.

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Social justice is about destroying systematic marginalisation and privilege. Wishing to live in a more just, more equal world is simply not the same thing as wishing to live in a “nicer” world. I am not suggesting niceness is bad or that we should not behave in a nice way towards others if we want to! I also do not equate niceness with cooperation or collaboration with others. Here’s all I am saying: the conflation of ethical or just conduct (goodness), and polite conduct (niceness) is a big problem.

Plenty of oppressive bullshit goes down under the guise of nice. Every day, nice, caring, friendly people try to take our bodily autonomy away from us (women, queers, trans people, nonbinaries, fat people, POC…you name it, they just don’t think we know what’s good for us!). These people would hold a door for us if they saw us coming. Our enemies are not only the people holding “Fags Die God Laughs” signs, they are the nice people who just feel like marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offense, it’s just how they feel! We once got a very nice comment on this site that we decided we could not publish because its content was “But how can I respect women when they dress like – sorry to say it, pardon my language – sluts?”. This is vile, disgusting misogyny and no amount of sugar coating and politeness can make it okay. Similarly, most of the people who run ex-gay therapy clinics are actually very nice and polite! They just want to save you! Nicely! Clearly, niceness means FUCK ALL.

On an even more serious note, nice people also DO horrible bad things on an individual level. In The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker, he explicitly says that people who intend to harm others often display niceness towards them in order to make them feel safe and let their guard down. This trick only works because we have been taught that niceness indicates goodness. What is more, according to De Becker, women have been socially conditioned to feel indebted to men who are “nice” to them, which is often exploited by abusers. If this doesn’t seem obvious to you, I suggest you pick up the book – it talks a lot about how socialisation of men and women makes it easier for men to abuse women.

How many more acts that reinforce kyriarchy have to be done nicely and politely before we stop giving people any credit for niceness? Does the niceness of these acts make them acceptable? It does not.

An even bigger issue is that if people think social justice is about niceness, it means they have fundamentally misunderstood privilege. Privilege does not mean you live in a world where people are nice to you and never insult you. It means you live in a world in which you, and people like you, are given systematic advantages over other people. Being marginalised does not mean people are always nasty to you, it means you live in a world in which many aspects of the cultural, social and economic systems are stacked against people like you. Some very privileged people have had awful experiences in life, but it does not erase their privilege. That is because privilege is about groups of people being given different rights and opportunities by the law and by socio-cultural norms. Incidentally, that is why you can have some forms of privilege and not others, and it doesn’t make sense to try to “tally up” one’s privilege into a sum total and compare it against others’.

The conflation of nice and good also creates an avenue of subtle control over marginalised people. After all, what is seen as “nice” is cultural and often even class-dependent, and therefore the “manners” that matter get to be defined by the dominant ethnic group and class. For example, the “tone” argument, the favourite derailing tactic of bigots everywhere, is quite clearly a demand that the oppressor be treated “nicely” at all times by the oppressed – and they get to define what “nice” treatment is. This works because the primacy of nice in our culture creates a useful tool – to control people and to delegitimise their anger. A stark example of this is the stereotype of the desirably meek and passive woman, which is often held over women’s heads if we step out of line. How much easier is it to hold on to social and cultural power when you make a rule that people who ask for an end to their own oppression have to ask for it nicely, never showing anger or any emotion at being systematically disenfranchised? (A lot easier.)

Furthermore, I think the confusion of meanness with oppression is the root cause of why bigots feel that calling someone a “bigot” is as bad as calling someone a “tranny” or taking away their rights. You know, previously I thought they were just being willfully obtuse, but now I realise what is going on. For example, most racists appear to feel that calling POC a racist slur is a roughly equal moral harm to POC calling them a “racist fuckhead”. That’s because they do not understand that using a racist slur is bad in any sense other than it hurts someone’s feelings. And they know from experience that it hurts someone’s feelings to be called racist douche.

So if you – the oppressed – hurt someone’s feelings, you’re just like the oppressor, right? Wrong. Oppression is not about hurt feelings. It is about the rights and opportunities that are not afforded to you because you belong to a certain group of people. When you use a racist slur you imply that non-whiteness is a bad thing, and thus publicly reinforce a system that denies POC the rights and opportunities of white people. Calling a white person a racist fuckhead doesn’t do any of that. Yes, it’s not very nice. And how effective it is as a tactic is definitely up for debate (that’s a whole other blog post). But it’s not oppression.

Being good and being nice are totally unrelated. We need to get serious about debunking this myth, because the confusion between the two is obfuscating our message and handing our oppressors another tool with which to silence us. In some cases, this confusion is putting people (especially women) in real danger.

This social movement can’t achieve its goals if people think it’s essentially some kind of niceness revolution. And anyway, social justice is not about making the world a nicer place. It’s about taking back the rights and opportunities denied to us by law or by social and cultural norms – and breaking out of the toxic mindset that wants us to say please and thankyou when we do.

via » The Revolution Will Not Be Polite: The Issue of Nice versus Good Social Justice League.

Tel Aviv Police Admit: Racist Bombing Attack Is No Big Deal To Them

The massive distribution of the racist attacks in south Tel Aviv on the Internet and social media means that finally, the mainstream media is forced to deal with the item. So here you are: Confirmation by the police to the Jerusalem Post that they simply do not consider a five-fold, organized, bombing attack on homes and kindergartens to be serious, and rather characterized as just another “little incident”.

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Police admitted to The Jerusalem Post that they had not sent out an announcement to the press regarding the incident. When asked by the Post why they had not followed standard protocol of sending out a press announcement, the police said that while there was no conscious decision not to, that typically announcements were only made for “serious” incidents and not “every little incident.” The police did not explain why the throwing of several Molotov cocktails was not considered serious.

via Attackers throw Molotov cocktails at TA … JPost – National News

 

Community shaken after coordinated attacks on African refugees

It is not likely that if a Jewish kindergarten was so much as threatened, that the police public response would be simply to acknowledge that a complaint was received. Nor would the ENTIRE Israeli media and political machine be completely ignoring that it even happened.

Welcome to apartheid Israel.

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Friday, April 27 2012

Haggai Matar

Four houses and one kindergarten in south Tel Aviv, all serving the African asylum seeker community, were hit  within the same hour by Molotov cocktails. Testimonies from asylum seekers and Israeli neighbors indicate a coordinated pogrom.

Forensic workers take pictures of unused Molotov cocktails

Forensic workers take pictures of unused Molotov cocktails (Oren Ziv / Activestills) (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

“Somebody is trying to get rid of these damn Sudanese,” said an Israeli resident of Shapira neighborhood in south Tel Aviv this morning. The term “Sudanese” is commonly used by Israelis to describe all African asylum seekers. The house adjacent to the house of this Israeli was hit at around 1:30 a.m. by three Molotov cocktails: two were thrown through the window, and one into the entry hall. No one was hurt, as residents and neighbors quickly awoke and extinguished the fire. Another fire bomb was thrown into a neighboring yard, where five asylum seekers sleep outdoors. Furniture was badly burned, but none of the residents were hurt. All of the cases are probably linked, as Mya has noted.

“Whoever did this is right, but he’s doing it the wrong way,” says the neighbor. “This fire almost burned my car, and also – there is a small girl in that house. He should have waited until nobody was home, and then blown the place up to send them a message”.

Asylum seeker looking at a couch burned in the South Tel Aviv attack

Asylum seeker looking at a couch burned in the south Tel Aviv attack (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Shortly after the first two attacks, two more houses were hit in the center of the neighborhood. “My brother and I were sleeping, and we awoke from the sound of the fire – which started right next to my bed,” says Maskala Masgene, an Eritrean asylum seeker. “They opened the window and threw the bottle in through the bars. When I saw it I took the bottle and threw it right out to the street. I couldn’t go back to sleep since. I’m too scared. I understand they were not caught yet, whoever did this. I’ve experienced hate talk on the street before, but nothing like this.”

The apartment next door was the fourth place hit. Here the bottle exploded on the frame of the window. Another Eritrean woman and her four children were sleeping inside, right under the window.

Maskala Masegne speaking about the attack on her home

Maskala Masegne speaking about the attack on her home (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

The fifth attack, at around 2:30 a.m., targeted a kindergarten that also serves as a home to the Nigerian couple who runs it. The burned playground equipment was still visible in the morning. “We didn’t wake up from of the fire, but actually from the knocks on the door by the firefighters,” says Balsin Baraka. “They told us to stay inside, and now the children are coming and have no games to play with outside. I have no idea who could have done this but it’s terrifying.”

All five locations were visited by police forces, who also located unused Molotov cocktails. The Tel Aviv police spokesperson has been contacted for a response but has yet to respond.

The burned kindergarten (Yotam Ronen / Activestills)

While refugees are uncertain about the identity of the attackers, Israeli residents of Shapira are all very certain that this was a racial attack. In addition to the neighbor interviewed above, several other neighborhood activists said that this is a culmination of a dangerous process that’s been going on for quite some time. “There is racist propaganda that comes down from the government, through members of the Municipal Council, and to the street – and this is the result,” accuses Nir Nader, a resident who is planning a solidarity vigil later on today. “People preaching violence should be in prison, and if the state doesn’t stop them – we shall.”

Asylum seekers at the site of the attack

Asylum seeker at the site of fire bomb attack in south Tel Aviv (Activestills)

Haggai Matar is an Israeli journalist and political activist. After writing for the short-lived Palestine Times and for Ha’ir Tel Aviv he is currently working as the municipal correspondent of Zman Tel Aviv, the local supplement of Ma’ariv, and is a prominent writer at the independent Hebrew website MySay.

In 2002 Matar was part of the Shministim (Seniors’) Letter to then PM Ariel Sharon, and was imprisoned for two years for his refusal to enlist to the Israeli army. Since his release he has been active in various groups against the occupation, as well as in several class-based struggles within the Israeli society.

CONTACT: haggai@hotmail.com

© 2012 +972 Magazine

via Community shaken after coordinated attacks on African refugees.

How I Was Blocked From Facebook

This week, a Facebook friend published a record of how she was detained by Israeli security, held, and questioned for hours. Her crime? Political activism on behalf of Palestinians and against Israel’s occupation of that nation. Not surprisingly, some of the responses she got were belittling ones, “boo hoo, you’re quite the martyr, having spent three whole hours in security!”, blatantly ignoring the fact that she was being intimidated, threatened, sexually harassed, her freedom curtailed… Also (as she alluded to in her article) she has had other more intrusive run-ins with Israeli security.

As a matter of fact, she is well-known to Israeli security forces because of her activism, but as long as her politics are on the “wrong” side, she is to be belittled, and reduced to a whining little girl, rather than the intelligent, political woman she is.

Well, this story has moved me to do a little whining of my own.

I must admit that while I am also an outspoken, strong, intelligent, and political woman, I have never been arrested for it, or threatened, or tear gassed. I’ve had shouting matches with police, been shoved by them, threatened as part of a group… But so far, I’ve escaped their notice as a focal point. Until, that is, the dreaded FACEBOOK police.

~~*~~

This week, the Tel Aviv Pride Parade campaign kicked off. Lo and behold, it is entirely based on nationalistic ideas and imagery. Homonationalism is a problematic concept anywhere, but in Israel it takes on special significance, given the sharp divides between Jews and Arabs (whether citizens or not) and the treatment of other marginalized groups.

The reproduction of hegemonic power structures into the “LGBT” community is an ongoing issue. I am fond of calling the LGBT center the “gay-white-man center”, that’s how obvious and blatant the marginalization is. All the men in positions of power there are quick to deny it, and point at the one or two women in the room (somehow, never named, never quoted, never heading up any important projects…). But even the two token white lesbians, does NOT an “LGBT” community make. Nor does it encourage any idea of commitment to equality when Ethiopians, Palestinians, any non-Jews (unless they are cute European gay guys), trans folk of any ethnicity, and others are continually made to feel unwelcome.

So back to the Pride campaign. Based on and inspired by the ultra-nationalist idea of celebrating Israel’s independence, just using the rainbow flag… A white-Jewish-male-gay-guy-spokesman felt obliged to note that “this is not meant to promote nationalist sentiments, and community members from minority sectors are included and invited to participate in the parade.

Well, um. Yeah. Minority sectors = Arabs, right? How kind of you!! I mean, it doesn’t really matter how unfriendly you make it for Arabs, as long as you then add a disclaimer in the small print.

(To put this in context, Arab supreme court justice Salim Joubran was excoriated by Knesset (parliament) members and the public recently for not singing the national anthem (which calls for the *Jewish* national state), and as this is being written, the latest outrage around Arabs (and other minorities) being entirely excluded from Israel’s upcoming Independence Day ceremonies.)

So, back to me, and Facebook. I made a poster/caricature of the Gay Center similar to this one:

It’s not about the WHITE, it’s about the PRIDE, dummy!

Israeli Gay Pride Welcomes Minorities!

Having gotten carried away with my own annoyance at the Center, and my desire to point out the ridiculousness in their assertions of inclusion, I disregarded the fact that Facebook runs bots on your pictures, and can pick out certain symbols. They immediately flagged the klansman, and blocked me indefinitely, putting a dent in my political activism as well as my social life!

So now I know what it feels like to be singled out by the police for my activism for social justice. And just for kicks, here is another draft of the idea.

Israel Gay Pride -- Minorities Welcom

A Primer on African Refugees In Israel

Yesterday, it was mansplained to me that Israel cannot possibly be an apartheid state because it lets in all these refugees… And that refugees wouldn’t want to come here if it were. The problems with this argument are too many to list, but here are the highlights: Apartheid means segregation, and in its wider context applies to a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race. The question of whether Israel, as a political/legal/military/bureaucratic system discriminates (against Israeli Arabs, Palestinians, foreign workers, non-Jews, Ethiopian Israelis, Mizrahi Israelis…) is not in any way dependent on the entry of refugees to the country. That is what you might call a fallacy. But the attempted use of this sad fallacy brought to front and center, yet again, how misinformed people are — right here in Israel — about African refugees in Israel. Because Israel doesn’t LET THEM IN. At all. Ever. And they don’t come here because it is a paradise — they come here because we’re the closest place they CAN come to, to get away from war zones, mass murder, enslavement, and rape. So I wrote this note on Facebook in a probably vain attempt to inject some reality into the situation.

There are somewhere between 35,000 and 50,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Africa in Israel today. Mostly from The Sudan and Eritrea.

None of these refugees are recognized by Israel as refugees. NONE. That’s ZERO.

Since 2003, fewer than 10% of these Africans have been granted some sort of temporary residency in Israel on humanitarian grounds. That’s a sum total of 2700-3000 Africans. Leaving the other 32,000 to 50,000 designated by Israeli authorities as INFILTRATORS.

Since 2007, the default treatment of asylum seekers is detention. When the prisons fill up, the refugees are released to city centers without further assistance — meaning, no home, no job, no legal status enabling them to find a job, no healthcare, no NOTHING. The slums of South Tel Aviv are the refuge of the lucky — many remain homeless. Or in prison.

Levinsky Tent Encampment After Violent Raid by Police and City Inspectors

Of course, none of this accounts for the unknown numbers who died or were detained on their way out of their countries of origin, or the Africans who have been subject to “hot return” by the IDF — a government policy that instructs the army to force refugees “back” to a neighboring country — in this case Egypt — where they are typically incarcerated, and denied any access to asylum-seeking procedures. There have also been incidents of Egyptian soldiers shooting at the Africans being “hot returned”. Hundreds of refugees that we know of have been imprisoned in Egypt or forcibly returned to the Sudan or Eritrea.

Meanwhile, those left in Tel Aviv or elsewhere in Israel also have no legal status or protection. In addition to being denied basic human rights to healthcare, education and the like, they are subject to police raids and random arrests, violence, and eviction. In recent weeks, the City of Tel Aviv destroyed the tent cities where many of the refugees were sheltering from the winter. One man, Jonathan Johannes Birkau, subsequently died from the cold.

Ever since the “refugee problem” began growing to more than sample proportions, Israel has been doing everything in her power to prevent additional refugees from crossing the border. The criminalization of refugees has been a de facto development, and now is becoming a de jure status as well:

Israel recently passed the “Infiltrator Law”, that provides that anyone crossing the border uninvited can be placed in detention — without any administrative hearing or trial — for up to three years. There is no age limit on this detention — it is being planned for adults and children alike. And no appeals system, or evidence required, because the law doesn’t care if the people detained are actually asylum seekers or work immigrants. The law also criminalizes anyone who provides assistance to refugees, providing for prison sentences for transgressors.

To this end, the govenment is building an internment camp in the Negev.

The new facility being built to “house” these men, women, and children will allocate about 5 square meters for each refugee, which is *significantly* less than even Israeli prisons allocate per prisoner. Government sources have said that this is intentional, to make it uncomfortable for the Africans to be in Israel.

None of this even begins to delve into the racial distinction made between the African “infiltrators” and say, people from Europe or the US who don’t otherwise have a “right” to be here, but are not placed in prison, and whose homes are not raided in the middle of the night, whose children are not arrested, imprisoned and deported as has been done regularly to non-western workers and refugees living in Israel, especially since 2010, when 400 young children born in Israel were ordered to be deported, with nearly 1000 more still facing deportation. (Children as young as 3-years-old are regularly put in prison cells, and deprived of food and medicine; authorities have also been caught in mulitple lies as to the legality of many of the parents involved, and children have been deported SEPARATELY from their parents. But Israel’s endemic racism is a wider issue than that of refugees, and too large to be dealt with in a note.)

At the time of this writing, about 2000 refugees from the Ivory Coast are in the process of being deported back to the IC, even though international humanitarian organizations are still recommending against refugees’ returning. The Israeli move is breaking up families, and depriving people of homes they have lived in since 1996.

Welcome to paradise.

Photo by: Shachaf Polakow