Fear mounts among African migrants as Israel begins deportation (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Dana Weiler-Polak 06/11/12)
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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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