12 June 2012

South Sudanese immigrants prepare for mass deportation: 'Israel has become hostile territory'

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France24 | 08.06.2012 | NEDERLANDS

Hundreds of South Sudanese immigrants are frantically preparing to be deported in the coming weeks, after a court ruled that Israel could send them back to South Sudan. Throughout the past decade, they trickled into the country illegally; until now, Israel had tolerated their presence. Our Observer tells us he is afraid to go back to a country he barely knows, and where violence has recently flared – but that he would also be afraid to stay in Israel, where Africans are increasingly becoming the targets of violent attacks.

According to the Israeli government, about 1,500 illegal immigrants from South Sudan are currently living in the country. Organisations that work with Israel's South Sudanese population put the number much lower, at about 700.

After South Sudan gained independence from Sudan last summer, the Israeli government began to push for South Sudanese immigrants to be deported, no longer considering them to be at risk of persecution. Human rights groups in Israel argued in court that these immigrants would be in danger if they were sent home to a country that was suffering from severe food shortages, and which continues to be bombed by Sudan, but the Jerusalem District Court rejected their petition on Thursday.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai praised the ruling, saying he hoped this would be the first step to expulsing all African immigrants who had entered Israel illegally. His ministry said the deportation of the South Sudanese population would begin shortly.

Israel is home to about 60,000 illegal immigrants from Africa, chiefly from Sudan and Eritrea. In the past few weeks, racial tensions have soared in the poor neighbourhoods of southern Tel Aviv, where most of the city’s African immigrants live. Following heated anti-immigration rallies, protesters have repeatedly attacked Africans.

According to a recent survey, 52 percent of Jewish Israelis agree with a statement by an Israeli member of parliament who said African immigrants are “a cancer in the body” of the nation, and over a third condone anti-immigrant violence.


This video was filmed by one of our Israeli Observers, David Sheen, during a recent anti-immigration rally in Tel Aviv. He told us the black man who was insulted and smacked on the head by a teenager was a Jewish Israeli citizen originally from Ethiopia.

“At this point, we are giving up all hope of staying in Israel. In fact, we now want to leave – Israel has become hostile territory”

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1 comment:

  1. Ze brengen nog net niet de Hitlergroet.