IsraHell: A rotten racist state


By: Revolutionary Communist

Israel: A rotten racist state

On 7 June an Israeli court in Jerusalem rejected appeals from human rights organisations that had delayed the implementation of an order from the Interior Ministry, issued on 1 April, which called for the deportation of around 1,500 refugees from the South Sudan. The Interior Minister, Eli Yishai a member of the Shas party, at the beginning of June had expressed clearly the racist ideology behind the Order when he declared, ‘Muslims that arrive here do not even believe that this country belongs to us, to the white man’!

There are an estimated 60,000 African refugees in Israel, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea. The vast majority have been granted temporary status visas and are not legally allowed to work in Israel, although up to now in the majority of cases, the state has been turning a ‘blind eye’ to their exploitation by Israeli firms. The state gives no benefits or aid to these asylum seekers. A report just issued by the Hotline for Migrant Workers in Israel showed that the Israeli state deliberately prevents refugees from being granted official asylum. Last year out of the thousands of applications for asylum only eight were granted.

The government and media label all refugees as ‘infiltrators’, a term used to describe Palestinian resistance fighters who engage with the Israeli occupation forces. On 4 June, at a Cabinet meeting,  Prime Minister Netanyahu called for the building of ‘holding camps’ in the Negev desert for refugees from Sudan and Eritrea and the deportation of 25,000 refugees from countries Israel has diplomatic relations with such as Ghana, Ethiopia and South Sudan. Israel’s Defence Ministry has said that five camps will be built comprising of up to 25,000 tents; three of these camps will be connected to the Ketzoit prison. The plan is for all refugees to be placed in these camps to prevent them entering Israeli cities. These are the actions of a brutal, racist apartheid state.

On 23 May race riots took place in South Tel Aviv following an anti-immigrant rally addressed by members of the Israeli Knesset. Miri Regev, an MK from the Likud party, declared at the rally that refugees from Sudan were a ‘cancer’. Ronit Tirosh, an MK from Kadima, called for all ‘African infiltrators’ to be deported. People left the rally and attacked African-run shops, a car with African passengers had its windscreen smashed and the Central Bus Station, which is a meeting place for refugees, was attacked.  This was just the largest organised attack on African refugees which have been taking place over a number of years, and which have followed an agenda set by Israeli politicians and religious leaders.

At the end of April, four petrol bombs were thrown into apartments in South Tel Aviv that housed African refugees and one into a kindergarten used by African families. An arson attack was carried out on 4 June on an apartment in Jerusalem housing ten refugees from Eritrea. Four were hospitalised, and graffiti was left saying, ‘leave the neighborhood’. In the summer of 2010 twenty five Jewish rabbis in Tel Aviv issued an edict which aimed to prevent the renting of property to African refugee ‘infiltrators’. Ten estate agents that work in South Tel Aviv publicly agreed to refuse to let property to ‘infiltrators’ and not to renew any expiring leases. In December of 2010, hundreds of rabbis signed an edict forbidding the leasing or selling of land or property to Arabs and non-Jews.

The racism that runs to the core of Israeli society flows from the setting up of a ‘Jewish’ state at the expense of the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and the continuing denial of their right to return. The occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the continued expansion of the colonial settlements across the West Bank is fueling the rise of racism and fascism within Israel. On 6 June 2012, the Knesset agreed to go ahead with the High Courts decision to evacuate five homes in Ulpana, an illegal settlement near Ramallah, as a sop to the settlers, Netanyahu announced the building of 851 new homes in the West Bank. This didn’t stop the fascist settler movement from attacking Palestinian homes and property in a village near Jerusalem spraying ‘revenge’ and ‘death to Arabs’ on Palestinian vehicles.

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