African home torched in Israeli racist attack
Published Monday, June 4, 2012
Israeli racists on Monday set fire to an apartment housing Eritrean migrants, spray-painting "get out of the neighborhood" in the latest racist attack on Africans.
"Two people were lightly injured from smoke inhalation and were taken to hospital for treatment," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, admitting that the blaze in a Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem was deliberate.
"A special investigation team was set up and police are searching for suspects," he added.
Fleeing poverty, fighting and authoritarian rule, some 60,000 Africans have crossed illegally into Israel through the relatively porous desert border with Egypt in recent years.
Israel says most come seeking work rather than refuge, but this has been challenged by UN humanitarian agencies and civil rights groups, making deportation legally problematic.
The asylum seekers have been treated with hostility by the Jewish state, a state based on ethnic and religious classification.
Attacks against migrants have surged in recent weeks, including an anti-African pogrom 10 days ago in a low-income Tel Aviv neighborhood where many migrants from Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan, live.
Last week, 11 minors were charged with a string of racially-motivated attacks against Africans in Tel Aviv.
Israel's poor record on racial tolerance is highlighted by its continued maltreatment of Palestinians, amounting to some as apartheid.
Further underscoring Israel's harsh response to African asylum seekers, a new law allowing authorities to jail illegal immigrants for up to three years came into effect on Sunday.
The measure has been denounced by liberal politicians and human rights activists.