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Friday, September 7, 2012
UN Insists Israel Admit Black Africans Trapped On Border, As Illegal Immigration Crisis Deepens - International Business Times
Israel, the promised land of the "chosen people," doesn't want Africans.
On Thursday morning, Israel sent back 18 Eritreans who had been stuck on the border between Egypt and Israel for eight days. They did allow three people -- two women and a 14-year-old boy - to cross into Israel.
The Eritreans were attempting to cross illegally into Israel. In response, Israeli police even prevented physicians from providing aid to the migrants, according to Haaretz.
This incident is the latest in what has been a long summer of anti-immigration protests, counter-protests and controversy in Israel over the status of African immigrants. The New Jersey-sized country with a population of 8 million has received a surge of around 60,000 immigrants from all over Africa in the past year, with another 700 coming in every week.
The Egypt-Israel fence is one of the most popular entry points into Israel for these migrants. Israel is not legally allowed to deport anyone from Eritrea, Sudan orSomalia, because their lives would be at stake upon returning home, due to the instability in those countries.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a conference on May 29 that African migrants are "a national security threat, endangering the country's Jewish majority," the Economist reported.
Israel is a very Jewish- and ethno-centric country. Netanyahu called for the construction of a steel wall along the Egyptian border; otherwise Israel would be "swamped by a continent look for work."
The illegal immigrants are also blamed for increased levels in crime in the neighborhoods where they live. A law passed around the same time said that any immigrants caught without documents by the authorities could face a three-year jail sentence.
In early June, protests erupted all over Tel Aviv, with more than a thousand people holding signs reading "This is not Africa," "Blacks out," and "Stop talking, start expelling!"
In response, leftist groups started counter-protests, but anti-immigrant sentiment runs high, partly out of fear that many of the migrants might be informants for terrorist groups.
Africans who live in Israel, including Ethiopian Jews who were brought to Israel in the 1980s and1990s and now compromise a population of 120,000, are also facing harsh discrimination. African-owned shops areoften targets of threats and violence.
The irony of a country started by refugees fleeing genocide refusing to accept economic refugees themselves is not lost. Yohannes Bayu, an Ethiopian who run's Israel's only refugee shelter told the Economist "How can a country founded by refugees turn against them?"