Israel confirms plan to deport African migrants to Uganda

‘Israel plans to soon begin deporting migrants from Eritrea and Sudan, who number more than 50,000, back to Africa via Uganda, officials said.

Israel regards most of the Africans as illegal visitors in search of jobs, and largely rejects the position of human rights groups that many fled their countries in search of political asylum.

A statement late on Thursday from interior minister Gideon Sa’ar said Israel would soon begin a staged process of deporting the migrants, most of whom have crossed the border with Egypt since 2006.

Sa’ar said an agreement had been reached with Uganda to absorb the “infiltrators”, who would soon be urged “to leave of their own free will”.

Sa’ar said the prime minister’s special envoy Hagai Hadas had obtained Uganda’s consent, Haaretz reported.

The chairwoman of parliament’s committee on foreign workers, Michal Rozin, speaking by phone, said there were “rumours” that Uganda may have agreed to the arrangement in exchange for a deal for money and weapons.

There was no immediate comment from officials in Kampala.

“In the first stage, we will focus on raising awareness within the population of infiltrators while helping them with the logistics of their departure, including costs, airfare and dealing with the possessions they accumulated while they were in Israel,” Sa’ar said.

Later the state would set a deadline by which “certain sectors within the infiltrator population” would be asked to “willingly” leave the country.

Once the deadline passed, the state would stop issuing extensions on visas and would begin enforcing laws that prohibit the employment of illegal migrants, the minister said.

Rozin urged the government to expose more details of the plan, including whether there were assurances that the migrants would not be forcibly repatriated to Sudan or Eritrea, saying that in these countries “we know many would be at risk of their lives”.

Human rights groups say Israel has jailed hundreds of African migrants and taken other steps to get them to agree to leave the country.

A few thousand are believed to have left Israel in the past year since a law enacted in 2012 authorising migrants who lack any official residence permits to be jailed for up to three years, said Sigal Rozen, policy co-ordinator for Hotline for Migrant Workers (HMW), an Israeli human rights group.

In July, a group of 14 Eritreans were repatriated after receiving $1,500 each from Israeli authorities, in what HMW denounced at the time as a “grave human rights violation”, citing Eritrea’s poor human rights record.

At least one group of Africans was flown out of Israel to South Sudan in the past year and other migrants have been offered cash to leave. Some 2,000 Africans are being held in the southern detention centres.

A fortified fence along Israel’s border with Egypt’s Sinai has largely stemmed the flow of migrants, who walked across what was a porous frontier at a rate of up to 2,000 a month in 2011.’

(Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/30/israel-plan-deport-african-migrants-uganda … removed now because of copyright bullshit)

Or this from Electronic Intifada:

Israel is a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, which sets out refugees’ rights and states’ responsibilities towards them. Nevertheless, Israel has not yet formulated a clear policy to determine refugee status. It doesn’t officially process refugee claims and has recognized fewer than 200 asylum-seekers as refugees since its creation in 1948.

Today, the UN Refugee Agency estimates that just more than 54,000 refugees and asylum-seekers live in Israel, with the majority coming from Sudan and Eritrea. Because their refugee status is never formally verified, most refugees in Israel hold a “conditional release” visa, which must be renewed every three months and does not allow them to work.

The Israeli high court ruled in 2011 that employers in Israel would not be fined, or charged, for employing asylum-seekers holding a conditional release visa. While the decision effectively allows asylum-seekers to work legally in the country, many employers remain hesitant to hire them.

Last year, the Israeli government threatened to fine business owners and mayors of municipalities that employ African refugees (“Interior minister: We will fine mayors who employ African migrants,” Haaretz, 24 May 2012). Israeli politicians have labeled African asylum-seekers as “infiltrators.”

Earlier this month, Israel passed a law severely limiting how much money asylum-seekers could withdraw from bank accounts while in Israel and how much money or property can be transferred abroad (“New law to limit money migrants can send abroad,” The Jerusalem Post, 4 June). The law now makes it almost impossible for refugees to support relatives in their home countries.

“We are focusing on the infiltrators’ departure from Israel. Several thousand infiltrators have already left Israel and we are continuing to work on repatriating the illegal work infiltrators already here,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the law was passed.

As a result of employment restrictions, African asylum-seekers are often forced to work in the informal sector, where they don’t have social protection or insurance, receive low wages for long hours and are vulnerable to exploitation.

“[A refugee] doesn’t have family here. He doesn’t have community support. He doesn’t have any money from the government. He has nothing. So he’s ready to work 15 hours a day,” explained Orit Marom, advocacy coordinator at the Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum-seekers in Israel.

Marom said that Israel’s restrictions are motivated by the government’s hope that strict conditions, which include a policy of imprisoning asylum-seekers for at least three years for entering the country illegally, will deter others from coming to Israel. It has constructed a fence along its southern border with Egypt and the world’s largest refugee detention center for the same purposes.

“This policy is not only harming the very basic human rights of refugees themselves, but also harming Israeli society and especially the very weak populations in the Israeli society,” Marom said.

(Source: Jillian Kestler-D’Amours, “Africans Denied Right to Work in Israel“, Electronic Intifada 25 June 2013)

On this day in history (December 21, 1919): Mass deportation of leftist radicals from United States

Following a year of massive strikes and political unrest at the end of World War I, the U.S. government deports 249 anarchists (including Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman), communists, anti-war activists, and “labor agitators.”
Emma Goldman -- deportation photo(Photo: Emma Goldman’s deportation photo, 1919)
Here are is an excerpt from Emma Goldman’s “My Disillusionment with Russia” (1923):
“The STATE IDEA, the authoritarian principle, has been proven bankrupt by the experience of the Russian Revolution. If I were to sum up my whole argument in one sentence I should say: The inherent tendency of the State is to concentrate, to narrow, and monopolize all social activities; the nature of revolution is, on the contrary, to grow, to broaden, and disseminate itself in ever-wider circles. In other words, the State is institutional and static; revolution is fluent, dynamic. These two tendencies are incompatible and mutually destructive. The State idea killed the Russian Revolution and it must have the same result in all other revolutions, unless the libertarian idea prevail.

The dominant, almost general, idea of revolution — particularly the Socialist idea — is that revolution is a violent change of social conditions through which one social class, the working class, becomes dominant over another class, the capitalist class. It is the conception of a purely physical change, and as such it involves only political scene shifting and institutional rearrangements. Bourgeois dictatorship is replaced by the “dictatorship of the proletariat” — or by that of its “advance guard,” the Communist Party. Lenin takes the seat of the Romanovs, the Imperial Cabinet is rechristened Soviet of People’s Commissars, Trotsky is appointed Minister of War, and a labourer becomes the Military Governor General of Moscow. That is, in essence, the Bolshevik conception of revolution, as translated into actual practice.

Revolution is indeed a violent process. But if it is to result only in a change of dictatorship, in a shifting of names and political personalities, then it is hardly worth while. It is surely not worth all the struggle and sacrifice, the stupendous loss in human life and cultural values that result from every revolution. If such a revolution were even to bring greater social well being (which has not been the case in Russia) then it would also not be worth the terrific price paid: mere improvement can be brought about without bloody revolution.

Our institutions and conditions rest upon deep-seated ideas. To change those conditions and at the same time leave the underlying ideas and values intact means only a superficial transformation, one that cannot be permanent or bring real betterment. It is a change of form only, not of substance, as so tragically proven by Russia. […]

There is no greater fallacy than the belief that aims and purposes are one thing, while methods and tactics are another, This conception is a potent menace to social regeneration. All human experience teaches that methods and means cannot be separated from the ultimate aim. The means employed become, through individual habit and social practice, part and parcel of the final purpose; they influence it, modify it, and presently the aims and means become identical.

The great and inspiring aims of the Revolution became so clouded with and obscured by the methods used by the ruling political power that it was hard to distinguish what was temporary means and what final purpose. Psychologically and socially the means necessarily influence and alter the aims. The whole history of man is continuous proof of the maxim that to divest one’s methods of ethical concepts means to sink into the depths of utter demoralization. In that lies the real tragedy of the Bolshevik philosophy as applied to the Russian Revolution. May this lesson not be in vain.

No revolution can ever succeed as a factor of liberation unless the MEANS used to further it be identical in spirit and tendency with the PURPOSES to be achieved. Revolution is the negation of the existing, a violent protest against man’s inhumanity to man with all the thousand and one slaveries it involves. It is the destroyer of dominant values upon which a complex system of injustice, oppression, and wrong has been built up by ignorance and brutality. It is the herald of NEW VALUES, ushering in a transformation of the basic relations of man to man, and of man to society.

Its first ethical precept is the identity of means used and aims sought. The ultimate end of all revolutionary social change is to establish the sanctity of human life, the dignity of man, the right of every human being to liberty and wellbeing. Unless this be the essential aim of revolution, violent social changes would have no justification. For external social alterations can be, and have been, accomplished by the normal processes of evolution. Revolution, on the contrary, signifies not mere external change, but internal, basic, fundamental change. That internal change of concepts and ideas, permeating ever-larger social strata, finally culminates in the violent upheaval known as revolution.

The period of the actual revolution, the so-called transitory stage, must be the introduction, the prelude to the new social conditions. It is the threshold to the NEW LIFE, the new HOUSE OF MAN AND HUMANITY. As such it must be of the spirit of the new life, harmonious with the construction of the new edifice.

To-day is the parent of to-morrow. The present casts its shadow far into the future. That is the law of life, individual and social. Revolution that divests itself of ethical values thereby lays the foundation of injustice, deceit, and oppression for the future society. The means used to prepare the future become its cornerstone.

Witness the tragic condition of Russia. The methods of State centralization have paralysed individual initiative and effort; the tyranny of the dictatorship has cowed the people into slavish submission and all but extinguished the fires of liberty; organized terrorism has depraved and brutalized the masses and stifled every idealistic aspiration; institutionalized murder has cheapened human life, and all sense of the dignity of man and the value of life has been eliminated; coercion at every step has made effort bitter, labour a punishment, has turned the whole of existence into a scheme of mutual deceit, and has revived the lowest and most brutal instincts of man. A sorry heritage to begin a new life of freedom and brotherhood.

It cannot be sufficiently emphasized that revolution is in vain unless inspired by its ultimate ideal. Revolutionary methods must be in tune with revolutionary aims. The means used to further the revolution must harmonize with its purposes. In short, the ethical values which the revolution is to establish in the new society must be initiated with the revolutionary activities of the so-called transitional period. The latter can serve as a real and dependable bridge to the better life only if built of the same material as the life to be achieved.”
And here’s one from “Living My Life” (1931):
“America had declared war with Spain…. It did not require much political wisdom to see that America’s concern was a matter of sugar and had nothing to do with humanitarian feelings. Of course there were plenty of credulous people, not only in the country at large, but even in liberal ranks, who believed in America’s claim. I could not join them. I was sure that no one, be it individual or government, engaged in enslaving and exploiting at home, could have the integrity or the desire to free people in other lands.”