|Posted: 04 Jul 2015 05:32 AM PDT
African migrants face countless struggles in Israel, from racism to discrimination to outright hatred. I’ve been reporting (for the Guardian and The National) on some of their lives when they leave the Jewish state and end up in South Sudan and across Africa.
Israel houses many African migrants in the Holot detention centre in the Negev Desert. A recent Haaretz editorial outlined the inhumanity of the situation:
I recently interviewed an African migrant, via email, and the full transcript of our conversation appears below. His story is repeated thousands of times across Israel:
Great piece by Bill Van Esveld, a Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch based in Jerusalem, published in The Hill:
Twenty years ago, Israeli and Palestinian leaders signed the Oslo accords on the White House lawn, opening the “peace process” that the US is trying to reinvigorate. Yet the Obama administration has failed to learn the lesson of the past two decades: keeping human rights violations off the peace talks agenda is a losing strategy. In this respect, Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent shuttle diplomacy has actually reached new lows.
Kerry, according to news reports and other sources, met with European leaders in Vilnius on September 7 and urged them to postpone new rules that would ensure Israel could not use European Union funds to support West Bank settlements.
But European sources say the rules are required by the EU’s own law, which incorporate its obligations under international law not to “recognize” illegal actions by other countries. Allowing EU aid to be used to benefit Israel’s settlements could breach that law. Kerry contended that Europe’s attempt to prevent itself from violating international law could complicate the peace process.
This isn’t the first time. The U.S., in the name of promoting negotiations, has consistently applied pressure to block accountability for rights violations, from vetoing Security Council resolutions critical of Israeli violations to calling on Palestine not to join the International Criminal Court – even at times when the peace process has been practically moribund.
Israel’s official position is that the primary responsibility for Palestinians’ human rights in occupied territories lies with the Palestinian Authority. Yet Israel allows Palestinian Authority security services to operate in less than 20 percent of the West Bank.
In the areas of the West Bank where Israel has exclusive control of security, its justice systems finds 99.74 percent of Palestinian defendants guilty of “security offenses,” but closes more than 90 percent of Palestinian complaints of settler violence without even filing an indictment. Only six Israeli soldiers have been convicted of unlawfully killing Palestinians since 2000, and none served more than seven months in jail.
The U.S. has also failed to address abuses, including credible allegations of torture, by the Palestinian Authority. U.S. diplomats in Jerusalem told me that the U.S. would oppose Palestinian efforts to sign human rights treaties. This has been an option since the majority of UN member states recognized Palestinian statehood in 2012 and would make it easier to hold the Palestinian Authority to account for abuses. But the U.S. diplomats I spoke to said such a move would be “unhelpful to final status negotiations.”
Last night at the Sydney Opera House I witnessed a truly unique event. 1.5 hour discussion with Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, indy reporter and key documenter of the Chelsea Manning trial Alexa O’Brien (with whom I did an event tonight on Manning and dissent), Manning lawyer David Coombs, academic Robert Manne and moderator Crikey’s Bernard Keane.
They discussed mass surveillance, Edward Snowden and why dissent is so vital in an age of ever-growing government and corporate intrusion:
Powerful column in the UK Independent by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown:
First, read this unconditional acceptance of facts that cannot be denied nor excused. Islamicist terrorism has inflicted atrocities and diffused panic and amorphous, long-term anxiety from east to west, south to north. Citizens of Nairobi and Baghdad, Madrid and London, Bamako and Dar es Salaam, New York and Bali, Mumbai and Damascus, Moscow and Karachi and now Boston, other places too, have had their lives and sense of safety blown apart. Those unaffected personally are haunted by the images and stories. Trepidation has entered their bones, our bones. Almost as chilling as real attacks are those thwarted by intelligence and security services. How many plots are still being planned? What if? Why? What do they want?
Millions of irreproachable Muslims are bewildered and enraged by this global vendetta which seems determined to annihilate modernism, occidental values, and also to destabilise some of the poorest and most hapless of nation states for reasons not made clear at all. Why are they trying to destroy Mali’s old culture for example? Some of us feel ashamed that Islam has become a byword for sinister, guerrilla warfare and is now regarded as a monstrous, rogue faith, easily turned into a killing call, most effectively for young men for whom life lacks meaning and direction. Women are now joining in too. The “spiritual leaders” behind the mayhem are wicked and psychologically manipulative men interested only in high body-counts and lurid publicity.
OK, now let’s turn to the most dominant countries in the world – and their finessed, widespread, extreme tactics used against people, some evidently fanatic and dangerous, others totally innocent. This is state-sponsored, state-activated, state-engineered terrorism which we are just meant to accept as a proportionate response to the evil above. More people are victimised by the unaccountable, secretive actions of the western nations – the US and UK most notably – than all those victimised by Islamicists. Most brainwashed and genuinely frightened westerners just accept what their governments do in fighting a nebulous “war on terror”. Hundreds of thousands are killed, physically and psychologically maimed and shocked and awed by western weaponry. It is fair enough and sensible to use intelligence and prevent plots home and abroad, but what is happening and has been since 9/11 is not defensible, moral, right, just or sane.