You Shall Love the Stranger, For You Were Strangers In the Land of Egypt: Israel Arrests Those Seeking Asylum, As They Did

Israel has arrested close to a thousand Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers on a desperate "March for Freedom" who had walked out of the Holot "open detention facility" in the Negev desert toward the Egyptian border, hoping to pressure the UN to help them escape an Israeli government that has consistently abused them, arrested them, ignored their human rights and dubbed them "infilitrators." Earlier this year, Israel began ordering African migrants and refugees into indefinite detention at Holot, which Israel calls a "residence" - albeit one run by the Israeli prison service in the middle of the desert where inmates receive bad food, no medical care and must be present for three roll calls a day - but which African activists say is a ploy to pressure them to accept "voluntary departure" for another country. The marchers had set up a desert encampment when Israeli military forces arrived, dragged them to buses and, according to a statement from asylum seekers, took them to Saharonim prison, located next to Holot, where many said they would begin a hunger strike. Entirely understandably, and oh so sadly, the asylum seekers say they will no longer seek asylum in Israel, but will ask the UN to settle them in third countries. Once more, heartbreakingly, infuriatingly, the oppressed become the oppressors.

Update: The bodies of three abducted Israeli teens have been found. This will be awful all around, starting with the hashtag #AvengeOurBoys.


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