This just goes from bad to worse…
After the Israeli Knesset deliberated on a bill which would essentially expel almost all of the 40,000 African refugees who have sought a haven there from civil wars and ethnic cleansing in their African homelands, Israeli human rights groups, Holocaust survivors and American Jewish leaders have decried this new form of Israeli racism.
The bill would offer refugees two stark choices: either accept an offer to be “voluntarily” expelled to an unnamed African country, along with a one-time $3,500 payment; or be permanently jailed in an Israeli detention center with no hope of release or asylum. Bibi Netanyahu lies, of course, when he calls this procedure legal under international law and claims that it is entirely voluntary on the part of the Africans:
Netanyahu added…that the arrangements “guarantee personal safety for those who exit Israel. They receive approvals allowing them to live, work and integrate into the country. If they want, they can also return to their home countries. They are receiving significant financial aid from us.”
Detailed investigative reports by Israeli media prove that this is absolute rubbish. On landing in Rwanda, the expellees are stateless. They have no rights. They may not work. They can be picked up at any moment by local police and thrown in prison. Many of them leave Rwanda at first opportunity and flee to Uganda, where they are also vulnerable. From there many try to make their way to Libya and Europe. Quite a few have been kidnapped in Libya, held for ransom or even beheaded by ISIS. Thus Bibi’s claims are not only lies, they are heartless lies.
There were numerous problems with this proposal aside from the protests I’ve mentioned: once the media revealed that Rwanda was the third-party country to which the refugees would be transported, its genocidaire leader, Paul Kagame, announced that of course his country would offer haven to anyone seeking safe harbor in his country; but that he had made no “secret deal” with Israel to accept refugees. Uganda, another country mentioned as a destination for the expellees, also denied any agreement.
Later, even more damning evidence was reported: that in addition to the payment to the individual refugee, Rwanda would receive $5,000 per head. If it accepted all 40,000 that would mean a payment of $200-million, an extraordinary sum.
Today, in the climactic house of horrors that is this story, the Israeli immigration overseeing refugees announced a bounty of $9,000 for Israelis deputized to hunt for those who refuse to leave and attempt to slip back into the woodwork undetected:
…The Population and Immigration Authority said it would pay up to 30,000 Israeli shekels ($8,845) for civilians to carry out an “enterprise of national importance.” That included undertaking “enforcement tasks” against migrants that involved detecting, investigating, and arresting them. Candidates are expected to start in March 2018, a month before the country starts its designated “voluntary” process to return migrants to their country of origin or a third one.
The reason this is particularly horrible? The Nazis too put a bounty on the heads of Jews and those who turned them in earned quite a tidy sum for their efforts. If you’ve read Huckleberry Finn or know the history of American slavery, you’ll recall that slave owners employed such bounty hunters to capture and return their runaway slaves. The entire enterprise stinks to high heaven. I find myself continually thinking that no one in the Israeli government appears to have a brain in their head when they consider such proposals. They don’t seem either to under the historical echoes of what they do; or else they don’t care (or both).
You fail to note that all of these bounty hunters must have an undergraduate degree (see ad above).
The demos against this heinous act contain posters with such slogans as פליט לא מגרש פליט (refugees do not expel refugees / with no apologies to the slogans from the Gaza disengagement in 2005) and גירוש = מוות (deportation = death) and “thou shalt not deport”. Our current Prime Minister does what all politicians do when about to go on the ropes, start populiust scapegoating and start wars …
Richard Silverstein says
@ gefilte: And you think a bounty hunter has to be an illerate, uneducated boob? What makes an undergraduate degree all of a sudden transform someone into a cultured, refined elegant human being who wouldn’t capture refugees and send them to their doom?
Your PM has been scapegoating, starting wars and promoting assassination of his opponents since the start of his career. This behavior didn’t start yesterday, my friend.
Richard, your translation of the advertisement is incorrect
Richard Silverstein says
@ Nim: First, I didn’t “translate” the ad. Second, it isn’t incorrect. Third, you better read the comment rules promptly before you publish another comment here because you don’t make claims without supporting evidence, which you haven’t done here. Watch your step…
Paranam Kid says
“Rwanda would receive $5,000 per head. If it accepted all 40,000 that would mean a payment of $200-million, an extraordinary sum.”
If, on arrival, those 40,000 refugees each gets stripped of their $3500, that would be another $140 million. So, if Rwanda plays its cards well, which should not be too difficult, it will earn a guaranteed bonus of the better part of $ half a billion.
Ariel Koren says
It isn’t a bounty per head like you make it sound but a possible bonus at the end of a period which we don’t even know it’s length.
And nobody “deputizing” anyone. The people recruited will be full fledged employees who will carry in addition office work etc.
Oooh, all is fine then. Thanks for clearing that up.
Ariel Koren says
I don’t see much difference from giving parking tickets.
At this point the only people they look for are those their application was denied (rather than unanswered), who are single and at the ago of work. Those that are clearly improvement seekers rather than refugees.
But seems like you aren’t interested in facts but in propaganda.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Ariel Koren: You clearly know whereof you speak because you are an African refugee and know what happens to them. That’s by way of pointing out you don’t know what you’re talking about. There are sweeps by BOrder Police through refugee neighborhoods where they scoop up refugees, arrest them & imprison them. If you read your own newspapers (credible ones that is) you’d know this.
As for facts, when you write any would you let us know??
Even Eritreans, whose applications are usually approved in European countries, are rejected by Israel. Your logic is that they are improvement seekers because they are rejected, and that they are rejected because they are improvement seekers. Kafka could have made that up. If every country treated refugees like that, we would need armed to the teeth ‘national homes’ for every category of person.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Ariel Koren: Actually, in this context a bonus IS a bounty. The ad clearly indicates that bounty hunters will be provided the bonus on successful completion of the job. What does that mean? That bounty hunters who don’t catch enough refugees will get the bonus? Of course not. Catch refugees & you’ll get the bonus: hence, a bounty. And the length of the job is clearly indicated as well. I think it’s two years if i recall. Possibly 18 months, by which time they should’ve captured all the refugees and put ’em on a boat back to ‘darkest Africa.’
Neil Douglas says
One thing that strikes me as that despite Israel’s harsh (not to say cruel) treatment of these refugees is that refugees from Africa continue to seek out Israel as their country of choice in escaping from injustice, tyranny and persecution, passing through Egypt on the way and not seeking to get to any of Israel’s neighbours as a place of refuge.
And whilst Israel’s economic prosperity might be a minor factor, it cannot surely be the main factor. These people are genuine refugees and not economic migrants. And it would belittle their desperate flight for freedom to attribute their choice of Israel to economics. They are seeking freedom and they choose Israel. And having got there, they wish to stay there. Israel may not be perfect (not even for its own citizens), but it is a country of choice from among many other countries in the region. This tells us much about Israel – and about Israel’s neighbours.
What an interesting thought. What neighboring countries were you thinking of, apart from Egypt? Lebanon and Jordan, of course, have each already taken in millions of refugees from Syria, who, under these circumstances (poor countries, staggering numbers of refugees), naturally have to fend for themselves. With such competition in the labor market, what chance for survival would Africans, who do not speak Arabic have? Even if you flee for your life, survival in your exile does play a role, and does not mean you are merely an improvement seeker, as you said. But to suggest that they chose Israel because of its FREEDOMS? Tut tut, you will have to come up with something better.
How many refugees from Syria has Israel taken in again, Neil Douglas? Was it one million, or two? In Jordan, Syrian refugees now make up more than 20% of the population. (That is, as you may know, on top of the huge part of their population that was expelled from the beacon of freedom Israel.)
You said that the refugees going to Israel said something about Israel and about its neighbors. Well it does: The neighbors have opened their doors to more refugees than would ever be allowed in, in Europe, and Israel lets NO ONE in! That indeed tells you something about Israel and it neighbors.