Deported-to-Death: Israel Sent African Refugees to Their Eventual Death at ISIS’ Hands
NOTE: Middle East Eye just published my latest contribution, which recounts the legacy of lies regarding Israel’s early nuclear weapons program, which has contributed to the distrust that pervades the Iran nuclear negotiations. Please circulate it as widely as you can via social media and other resources.
Before Israel built a multi-billion dollar fence separating it from the Sinai frontier, 60,000 African refugees fled civil wars, famine and poverty to find a new life there. I wish I could say that Israel had learned any lesson from the Jewish history of suffering and exile, and that it treated these refugees with decency. But despite Bibi Netanyahu’s oft heard claims about Israel being the apotheosis of Jewish values, he seems to have learned none. His government has cast a cold, hard eye on the Africans from Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and elsewhere.
Israeli Jews in Tel Aviv have mounted pogroms against them replete with beatings and firebombing of African stores. The government built concentration camp-like facilities for them amidst the Negev moonscape. Israel deported some of the refugees to Sudan, where they were promptly arrested for traveling to Israel, a country to which travel is banned. The government sought desperately to find another African country that would accept them. It struck paydirt in the Rwandan dictator, Paul Kagame, the Butcher of Congo. In return for military hardware, Rwanda agreed to accept deported Africans. What happened to them after they left Israel and touched down in Rwanda was no longer the “Jewish state’s” problem.
Israel then set about persuading the Africans to leave Israel “voluntarily.” Given a choice between a desert detention facility with no hope of a normal life in Israel and a new start elsewhere, a few agreed to go. They were fed a $3,500 bribe and the false promise of work visas in Rwanda. Interior Minister Gil Erdan added more lies in a report from last month about his deportation plan:
Previous attempts at “voluntary departure” had come under fire after many of those who left of their own accord faced life threatening danger in their home country.
But this time is different, Erdan claims, saying that in the first few months, Israel will follow the foreign nationals intake process in the host countries to make sure they are properly treated.
Turns out for those who listened to Erdan’s blandishments, it wasn’t a smart choice.
ISIS in Libya released one of its terror-porno videos picturing 23 Africans, described as “Ethiopian Christians,” beheaded on the beach. The information was imprecise at best. At least three (and possibly more) of the victims were identified by family in Israel as their relatives, who’d been deported by Israel to Rwanda:
“I recognized my relative, T., from the photos published by ISIS that appeared on Facebook before the video was released,” says Mesi Fashiya, an Israeli-born Eritrean whose parents came to Israel in the 70s. “I thought it was him, but then ISIS announced that it was a group of Ethiopians, so I began to look into it. The people at the Holot detention center also saw the photos — they hoped it was only photos, and that they didn’t really kill them. After they released the video there was no doubt…
T…came to Israel through Egypt in 2007. He lived with her for a period of time, and the two became close. According to her, T.’s mental state deteriorated after being sent to Holot, and despite her promises to try and do everything to release him, he eventually decided to sign a voluntary departure form and was deported to a third country — Rwanda or Uganda. T.’s brother, who lives in Norway, told Fashiya that T. attempted to reach Europe. He crossed Sudan and reached Libya, where he got on a boat to Europe that was turned back. The last thing they heard was that he was in a Libyan prison.
…“They [ISIS] are doing twisted things there, beheading them and then placing the heads on the bodies. It is terrible. It is difficult to believe that these things happen, even to people you don’t know. But when it happens to someone you do know, a relative who was promised a better life when he leaves, and this is what happens in the end
The surviving family told Haaretz that after landing in Rwanda, that country immediately sent them packing:
According to Mesi, T. “went back to Uganda or Rwanda – I think Rwanda – where they are not accepted. From there he went on to Sudan, and from Sudan to Libya.” She said that he was not able to remain in Libya, and tried to reach Europe by boat. “I understood that the boat was returned to Libya,” she said, “where they were arrested. Rumors have it that the extreme Islamic group snatched them from the jail itself.”
The rest is grisly history.
Today’s news is filled with the horrible story of the capsized Libyan ship which carried as many as 900 poor souls to their death in the Mediterranean as they tried vainly to reach Europe. But the infamy of the story I tell tonight should not be subsumed by this greater toll in grief and death.
Israel violates international refugee laws with impunity. It refuses to even consider most applications for refugee status and approves almost none. That way it can falsely claim that none of those who came there were legitimate refugees. It offers no rights or due process to those it detains. It ships them back to the misery they left without caring what happens to them.
I tried to reach the Interior Ministry for comment on this story, but it was closed for Israel Independence Day/Yom HaZikaron.
I spoke to Sharon Harel of the UN High Commission for Refugees in Tel Aviv and she expressed the organization’s deep concern for the treatment of asylum seekers in Israel. This included what provisions were made for returning them to third countries. She said that agreements with such countries (in this case Rwanda and Uganda–though the latter formally denies one even exists) should be “transparent.” They should provide protection and guarantee proper treatment of them once they arrive. If such agreements are successful, then we should see communities of Eritreans, Sudanese and Ethiopians deported from Israel, living in these countries. If we don’t, she said, it would mean that whatever program is in place is not working.
In fact, the Israeli Hotline for Migrants has published a report on precisely this subject. It finds that those deported to Rwanda and other countries are pressured to leave. There is no provision for them to be accepted on a long-term basis. In fact, just the opposite.
Thus far, the agreements, such as they are, are anything but transparent. In fact, they’re so secret that Uganda has denied one even exists. If the Haaretz report is correct, then Rwanda is merely serving as a fig leaf for Israel. It isn’t receiving the deportees in any fair manner. It’s merely serving as a way station for them to pass to yet a fourth or even fifth country as they seek refuge.
Further, a new policy, even more draconian than the current one, would allow Israel to deport Africans involuntarily. Those who refused would be put in Saharonim Prison and treated close to criminals, yet another grave violation of international law.
Now Israel knows that it has deported human beings who were slaughtered like cattle. It cannot wash its hands of this tragedy. It is an accomplice to murder.
If you’ve followed this blog for a number of years, you may remember this post I wrote about the ill-fated journey of the S.S. St. Louis with its cargo of Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis just before the outbreak of World War II. The ship made its way to the New World seeking a safe haven for its 800 souls. But it was turned away at Latin American ports, turned away from the U.S. and ultimately turned away from Cuba. The St. Louis eventually gave up and returned to Europe, where many of its passengers ended up murdered in Nazi death camps.
This is now Israel’s legacy: it has done no less than what FDR did to the St. Louis. It has turned away the desperate fleeing mayhem in their homelands and sent them back into the lion’s mouth. This is a betrayal of Jewish tradition; a betrayal of Jewish values. A total schandeh.
27 thoughts on “Deported-to-Death: Israel Sent African Refugees to Their Eventual Death at ISIS’ Hands – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Israel deported these migrants to a safe haven. These migrants chose to leave that safe haven and enter into Libya, an ISIS infected war zone. The migrants chose to contract with smugglers and cross the Mediterranian Sea at it’s widest, and therefore most dangerous point.
Blame Israel? Please
@ Cory: Nonsense, Rwanda was no safe haven. Rwanda deported them yet again–a violation of international refugee protocols. They had nowhere else to go, so they tried Europe.
You are a heartless, cruel brute.
how do you know rwanda deported them?
@ eli: Because the family member in Israel said so in the Haaretz report to which I linked, but which you didn’t bother reading. And the Hotline report confirms it as well. That too is linked & that too you didn’t bother to read. STRONG ADVICE: read all links in my posts before posting questions that have already been answered!! Not doing so wastes your time & mine having to respond.
The family of the migrant said the migrant was deported to Uganda or Rwanda “..where they are not accepted.”
How can you translate, “where they are not accepted” to mean ‘deported’?
Why doesn’t Migrant Hotline just come out and say that Rwanda is deporting the migrants? Why? Because there is no proof that they are deporting anyone.
@ Cory: When you arrive as a refugee in a country and “are not accepted,” you are sent packing. That’s better known in the trade as “deportation.”
You’re done in this thread. Do not publish another comment in it.
“where he got on a boat to Europe that was turned back. The last thing they heard was that he was in a Libyan prison. ”
So a European Union nation boat turned the refugees back to Libya.
Let’s examine this more closely.
Eritrean work migrants leave Eritrea and enter Israel via Sudan and Egypt. Israel treats them decently for 7 or 5 or 3 years until voluntary deports begin. The migrants take their savings and an Israel bribe and go to Rwanda or Uganda. They leave for Europe via Sudan and Libya and are turned away by an EU boat. Libya imprisons them and ISIS beheads them.
Burn the witch!!
@ Cory: Let’s examine your bullshit more closely. Israel treats refugees “decently?” Putting them in desert concentration camps? Filling their restaurant cooking pots with lye? Burning their stores and cars? Beating them on the streets of Tel Aviv? Decently? I can tell you what’s decent and indecent & your hasbara puffery is indecent.
And they didn’t just “leave” for Libya. They were kicked out of Rwanda as the Hotline report & Haaretz interview with family members proves. All this in contravention of international refugee protocols.
No one said anything about an EU boat “turning away” their boat. It said their boat was turned away, but not who did it. So stop fudging reality.
If you persist in Zio-snark, you’ll be moderated. Strong advice to all hasbarists: snark is not wit. It’s boring, vapid & stupid.
” I can tell you what’s decent and indecent & your hasbara puffery is indecent. ”
I see dozens of these African migrants every day. Every day. Nobody bothers them here.
On the contrary, I’ve been victimized by a few of these ‘asylum seekers’. I’ll spare your readers.
There’s nothing so pathetic as one who looks but will not see. I’ve pointed you to documentary evidence that directly contradicts your nonsense. Yet you offer anecdotes w/o any corroboration. Pathetic .
Self pity and sole victim status is the only reliable export from the SoI, its friends and benefactors at hasbara.com. I can’t begin to imagine the storm that would follow had these Africans been white and Jewish. The S.S. St. Louis, with its cargo of German Jews, had been forced to return to Germany because the U.S. and Cuba would not, to their shame, grant them asylum. Which makes me wonder, is the whole purpose of the zionist state to exact revenge? Africans did not operate the ovens at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Palestinians weren’t rounding up Jews for transport to death camps. Arabs did not write the Nuremburg laws. Isn’t it way past the time for the SoI to join the rest of humanity?
Poverty isn’t a viable reason to get refugee status anywhere in the world and most of those refugees are simply people looking for better employment opportunities. Israel, being the only western country with land border with Africa cannot carry that burden.
It is good to keep in mind the European ‘Liberal’ take on this problem –
“Every refugee is entitled to asylum in Europe under the Common European Asylum System, which sets out a framework for their protection and rehabilitation. However, several countries are unable to implement this framework effectively with the sudden and ever-increasing influx of illegal migrants. There have been allegations of mistreatment of asylum-seekers in the past, and measures to deal with the problem include a proposal to create offshore detention centers in so-called “third countries” like Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia. A large part of the effort is funded by the E.U.’s Asylum, Migration and Integration fund, which has set aside 3.137 billion euros for the period of 2014-2020.”
@ Tankist: Your comment is a lie. Refugees come because they’re escaping genocide (Sudan), or religious conflict or famine. These are all legitimate categories under internatinal refugee law. Not to mention that Israel until recently has refused to even examine asylum requests. This too is a requirement under international law. You can’t determine whether someone is or isn’t a refugee if you don’t permit them to apply for asylum & review their cases.
And yes, Israel as any country in the world does carry the burden of treating refugees fairly & decently. And your comments otherwise are indecent.
Your final paragraph only proves my point. The EU has set aside $4 billion to help asylum seekers acclimate to 3rd countries. Israel merely dumps them in Rwanda & permits that country to expel them a second time to yet another country. This is the direct opposite of what the EU does. Now tell your country to follow EU standards. Develop transparent agreements which outline precisely what Israel will do & what the 3rd countries will do & provide ways to review & ensure these protocols are followed. THAT is international protocol. Not this improvisation.
Richard – you mentioned poverty as a reason to flee one’s country but it isn’t a reason to be granted asylum.
You took from the TIMES article whatever suits you. Have you missed the part about ‘detention centers in Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia’?
And simple math – $3,500*60k=$210M which Israel set aside in direct support (not to mention other expenses to resettle the immigrants which probably double or triple this amount or 210M*2=420M). Considering the size of the country and the amount of immigrants, we are on par (or doing better) than Europe.
Meanwhile immigrants have access to the health system in Israel which as of 2012 cost over $10M annually. http://news.nana10.co.il/Article/?ArticleID=900713
@ Tankist: Refugees flee home countries for hundreds of reasons. But poverty usually isn’t the sole reason. Therefore someone fleeing Africa may leave for reasons that are legtimately asylum-qualified & reasons that aren’t. You judge an asylum application based on which criteria are legitimate. Almost all African refugees in Israel are legitimately qualified as refugees under international law. According to UNHCR, in Europe Eritreans qualify for asylum at the rate of 93%. In Israel, FOUR Eritreans have qualified.
You offer a deportee $3,500 and then want to be praised for your munificence?? Please, don’t make me sick. You’ve paid that money to at most a few hundreds suckers who agreed to leave. That’s not “on a par with Europe.” That’s on a par with indecency.
Meanwhile African refugees are refused service at Israeli hospitals for fear they carry AIDS. YOu’re not gonna win any points for that either.
Again you neglected to refer to the DETENTION CAMPS. Wondering why?
The little math exercise was to highlight the fact $3,500 per person is a reasonable amount and the $4B sounds like a lot but when you look closely at the numbers, it is less than Israel is spending.
Your comment “African refugees are refused service at Israeli hospitals” is a lie. There is even a (limited) program to give free (expensive) AIDS treatment. http://www.nrg.co.il/online/29/ART2/542/735.html
@Tankist: As for “detention camps,” every country has them including Israel. But most are not in the middle of a desert. Nor do western countries permit forced deportation of refugees as Israel proposes.
Very serious error to accuse me of lying. In fact, it has been regular practice at some Israeli hospitals to refuse service to Africans for fear they carry AIDS. So for falsely accusing me of lying, a major comment rule violation, you are moderated. Only future comments respecting the rules will be published.
Here are some links verifying my claims:
Israel at most has spent $100,000 on deportation bribes. while even you note Europe spends far, far more.
Richard- You called me a liar after I wrote that contrary to what you wrote, poverty isn’t a reason for asylum. I didn’t speak about the other two reasons you have mentioned.
The DETENTION CENTERS won’t be cabins in the Alps but rather in “Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia”. So you believe they will find a nice oasis for the immigrants there? Your comment about Israel sticking them in the desert is true but completely irrelevant.
Title is obviously an attempt to blackwash Israel as the articles you brought didn’t say what their title say. For example: “While they have the right to be admitted to Israeli hospitals in emergency situations, they cannot receive follow-ups or treatment for psychological problems or long-term medical conditions such as cancer or HIV/AIDS.”
There are some real medical issues and some real doctors have to decide how to deal with them. Painting this as racism when the country already spend on them millions is nonsense. And do bums in the US get better treatment? or just people w/o VERY expensive health insurance? They will admit you the the IR but throw you out as soon as they can.
@ Tankist: False, I called you a liar because you said my claim that Israeli hospitals refuse treatment to African refugees was “a lie.” It is not. My three links prove you to be wrong. If you apologize for your error & remember that calling me a liar is a moderation comment rule violation, I will unmoderate you.
No detention facilities anywhere are “cabins in the Alps.” But Israel’s are horrific. Have you ever visited? Been inside a cell? No. Take a look at the Israel Physicians for Human Rights report on his disgusting they are.
Admitting someone to hospital only in “emergency situations” is denying treatment because no refugee can receive treatment that is NOT emergency treatment. Refusing “long-term” treatment to AIDS patients is only refusal of treatment. Refusing medical treatment is not only a violation of the Hippocratic Oath, it’s contrary to international refugee protocols. And it certainly IS racism.
We don’t have “bums” in the U.S. Perhaps you have “bums” in Israel? Perhaps anyone who isn’t your religion is a “bum?” Do NOT use such racist, offensive terms here.
Richard – I didn’t call you a liar to begin with, just said your comment was a lie which was based on biased articles which contradict their own content. That is exactly the language you used for my comment. In the IDF I was taught ‘commanders lead by example’.
You are not a liar, just completely wrong yet you insist on making a big wrongful statement – “African refugees are refused service at Israeli hospitals for fear they carry AIDS” which then you admit is wrong.
You are not a liar since you truly believe what you wrote even though you admit they will be accepted but probably will be denied long term treatment. This is where my ‘bums’ comment came in place, to show the hypocrisy as that is true to every country with people w/o health insurance.
You take very small portion of the picture and present it as a whole one. Am artist!
Do not comment further in this thread.
@Richard, you brought 3 links to support your claim that Israeli hospitals deny refugees. All 3 fail to achieve that.
Haaretz talks about preventing entry from visitors, not from the ones who need treatment. These visitors are not constrained to beds and the staff’s protective measures do not help other visitors that are exposed to them. Since we’re talking about a population that was not vaccinated as per the local requirements, and are at a high risk due to their origin countries (or countries they passed along the way), this is a reasonable protective measure fir any public health system. Again, this doesn’t mean anyone is not given treatment, but that his right for an escort is weighted against the risk of public health, following repeated cases of contamination.
The second source (EastAfro) quotes the Israeli source, without adding any other facts before it starts the usual tirade of racism claims.
The third source (IPS) confirms that refugees do get treatment, but mostly attacks the duration of the treatment and calls for applying free health insurance and social rights for refugees – truly a just cause, but fundamentally a matter of money. A lot of money.
Clearly, none of these sources add any strength to your claim – can you please provide others (or acknowledge it may have been just a little exaggerated)? Please note that i’m not just nitpicking here, this stands in the base of your claim that Israel is being intentionally cruel to refugees. Another example you brought was that the detention center is in the desert, to which I must refer you to a map of southern Israel and ask for better suggestions.
@ Leeor: Your claims are false. Haaretz’s HEADLINE talks about denying entry to “visitors.” But the text of the article itself makes very clear that African refugees are treated with suspicion, fear & racism. It is completely unacceptable to force visitors to a hospital to undergo chest X-rays.
Here are further quotes & links on the subject:
A Sudanese man who died because Israel refused to spend $1,500 to purchase an oxygen generator for him:
Physicians for Human Rights:
From Haaretz by way of Failed Messiah:
What “vaccinations” have they not received? Against being undesirable? Or Black? Or African? That’s deeply offensive. What illness will contact with them give you? Will you catch AIDS from being in the vicinity of an African? Is a medical doctor permitted to make a judgment that a patient has AIDS or tuberculosis w/o having any evidence to prove this?
So denial of entry or treatment is not “reasonable.” In fact it is a violation of the Hippocratic Oath & international protocols for the treatment of refugees.
What “repeated cases of contamination” are you talking about? Not to mention using that word in connection with real human beings, just as you’ve called other humans “bums,” is deeply offensive. Remember a cardinal rule of this blog: you may NOT make claims without offering proof.
No, not nitpicking…just doing hasbara. Bad hasbara.
So you claim that Israel had to build a refugee prison in the desert? It couldn’t have built it in a more hospitable climate closer to civilization?
You are done in this thread. Do not publish further here.
“Rwanda deported them yet again”
But the Hotline for Migrants says, “..Uganda and Rwanda, do not offer any protection, legal status or guarantees to the asylum-seekers’ safety.”
This is not the same thing as ‘deported’.
And a Ugandan newspaper says, The Daily Monitor, says:
“..asylum seekers were slowly entering the country. An immigration official told the paper that asylum seekers arrive with one-way tickets and receive temporary visas upon entry.”
@ Cory: You neglected to read the family member’s Haaretz interview which confirms Rwanda expelled Tesfa, the executed Eritrean. Nor did you read the entire report. Go back & read the entire report (http://hotline.org.il/en/publication/where-there-is-no-free-will/) before you tell us what’s not in it.
Whatever a Ugandan newspaper says about how it treats Israeli refugees isn’t worth more than the lies of Gil Erdan, Israel’s interior minister. Not to mention that the Ugandan government officially denies there is any such agreement. How’s that for transparency??
The northern European countries refuse to take in an equal share of the refugees. That is certainly part of the problem. And as to avoiding avoidable deaths: It was devastating when the Italian Mare Nostrum initiative was discontinued because of lack of broad European financial support.
I agree with what you write Richard, but as a (northern) European, my thoughts these days are with our borders of death, and what on earth to do about them.
(By the way, what a clever and beautiful name was chosen for the Mare Nostrum initiative: The old Latin name for the Mediterranean Sea (appealing to Italian pride), the meaning ‘Our Sea’ (appealing to feelings of responsibility), and finally -Latin being the language of the Catholic Church- an appeal to Christian charity.
And at the same time so simple.)
they are not refugees !
if they were real refugees they would move from their country to neighbour country , instead they choose to move via more than one country to israel (israel have no borders with sudan or eritrea)
beside this guy was not sent from israel to libya , he choose to go to lybia simply because he does not want to stay in africa and he want to try to move to a better place (europe / israel)