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Fear mounts among African migrants as Israel begins deportation (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Dana Weiler-Polak 06/11/12)Source: http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/fear-mounts-among-african-migrants-as-israel-begins-deportation-1.435567 HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Many African migrants in the country are living now in a state of fear, more worried than ever about being deported.

"They told us in January they were removing our collective protection, but it´s only now that we´re seeing action in the field, and it´s starting to close in on us," said Bernard Abbot, who came to Israel 15 years ago from the Ivory Coast.

"I´ve been living here many years and I never believed that there would come a day that they [the authorities] would start pursuing the few Ivory Coast citizens who live here," he continued. "But this morning we understood that it will reach everyone, because they´ve arrested a woman and child from the community.

"It´s a hard situation, because people live full lives here, with families and children," Abbot said. "You can´t hole up now at home and hope that they won´t come. Still, people aren´t going out unless it´s absolutely necessary."

Ismail, a migrant from Darfur, is also afraid, even though the collective protection offered by authorities to citizens of northern Sudan, including those coming from Darfur, is still in place.

"With everything that´s been going on recently, I know it´s just a matter of time before we´re also deported," he said. "I´m afraid to go out of the house because on the one hand, people curse me because I´m black, and on the other hand they´ve already arrested me in the street and tried to get me to admit that I was from South Sudan."

The South Sudanese are the most concerned of all, after a Jerusalem court last week legitimized their deportation.

"I heard the news and I couldn´t believe it was really happening," said Kamal, a South Sudanese who has been living here since 2008. "Parents are afraid to send their kids to school, and whoever has work is afraid to go lest he get arrested."

On Sunday, Israel´s Immigration Authority began rounding up African migrants, with eight arrests reported in Eilat and central Israel. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 06/11/12)

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