Israel passes law to jail African immigrants

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Published Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Israel's parliament has approved a law which allows clandestine immigrants from Africa to be imprisoned for up to a year without trial, MPs announced on Tuesday.

The government-backed bill amends earlier legislation from 2012 under which clandestine immigrants could be held for three years without trial that was overturned by the Supreme Court in September.

The new bill passed by 30 votes in favor to 15 against during a late-night vote in the 120-member parliament.

It was the latest in a series of discriminatory measures targeting Africans entering occupied Palestine, which the apartheid-inspired Israeli government says poses a threat to Israel's "Jewish character."

Last year, Israel launched a violent crackdown on what it said were 60,000 clandestine African immigrants, rounding up and deporting 3,920 by the end of the year, and building a hi-tech fence along the border with Egypt.

On November 24, the cabinet approved measures aimed at tackling the question of immigration, including a crackdown on employers, and paying Africans to return to their countries countries of origin.

It has also invested in the construction of a sprawling prison for immigrants who "disturb the public order," the premier's office said.

The prison, to be inaugurated on December 12 and run by the Israel Prisons Services, will be open during the day but locked at night, and it will initially house up to 3,300 people, Haaretz newspaper reported.

It said capacity could be expanded to hold up to 11,000.

Hardliners from Prime Minister Netanyahu's Likud party praised the new legislation, with Interior Minister Gideon Saar saying it would "allow us to keep illegals away from our cities."

And MP Miri Regev said Israel should "send them all back to their countries."

But not everyone welcomed the legislation.

"Would you also have placed Nelson Mandela in a closed detention center?" asked Tamar Zandberg from the Meretz party.

Human rights groups say most African migrants in occupied Palestine cannot be deported because their lives would be under threat if they returned home to Sudan and Eritrea.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

Comments

This is nothing but barbaric!!! Refugees will either the country legally or illegally and there is nothing clandestine once they enter the country. Most of those migrants are from countries such as Eritrea where the Government is known for its very repressive policies and brutality. In short, most of those migrants have well founded fear of persecution if they are to return back to their country.
Oh, and putting them in any form of custody is also inhumane, to say the least.
How about a moral obligation to protect those poor refugees?
We call up on the Israeli Government to repeal the new law and allow the immigrants to live freely!

So at what point does a gov say "enough,no more in"?most of these migrants are destitute persons.but at what point does a gov put the needs of its own people first before taking care of the rest of the world's poor? I hear and read many comments like the above.but they leave out the "end"of the sentence-"we must take care of them all but not in my neighborhood ".good intentions can go just so far.look at Lebanon and Jordan -overwhelmed by refugees(real refugees)and their ppl will carry the economical and social burden for a long time.one should not deny asylum and help but must recognize when a time comes you can not do that any longer.while Lebanon and Jordan are doing the right think,they are aided by international bodies.isreal is paying for her refugees through the tax payer.the above post is genuine and we'll meant but wishful thinking and reallity don't always equate.

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