US criticizes Israeli approach to asylum seekers

By
May 25, 2012 10:19

Report on human rights practices flags officials' use of negative terms to describe asylum seekers, discrimination.




SOUTH TEL AVIV is absorbing African asylum-seekers to a degree that is simply inconceivable to more

Asylum seekers south Tel Aviv 311. (photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem)

Amid rising tensions over the issue of African migrants in Israel, the United States criticized aspects of the government's treatment of asylum seekers, in a State Department report released Thursday.

The report, entitled 2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, stated that though the government has ceased the practice of immediately returning African asylum seekers arriving via Egypt, it "continued to deny many asylum seekers individual refugee status determinations, which impacted their ability to work or receive basic social services, including health care."

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The reports says that Israeli law allows most asylum seekers access to temporary asylum, however, refers to complaints regarding accessibility to the system and reports of discrimination.

Citing United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) data, the report says that out of 4,603 new asylum applications submitted during 2011, the government rejected 3,692, approved one and 6,412 remained pending.


The US also viewed negatively government officials' use of the term "infiltrators" to refer to asylum seekers, as well as officials who directly associated asylum seekers with the rise in crime, disease and terrorism. Interior Minister Eli Yishai was specifically flagged as an instigator.

Meanwhile, as the report was released, Yishai reiterated his views, telling channel 10 that "all infiltrators must be imprisoned, with no exceptions," and that the state must transmit a message to them all, that Israel does not accept them.

On Wednesday night, violent disturbances against African migrants in south Tel Aviv reached unprecedented levels, resulting in the arrest of 17 local residents for assaulting migrants, attacking police and looting storefronts belonging to Africans.

Related Content
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN

Israel Weather
  • 24 - 37
    Beer Sheva
    25 - 31
    Tel Aviv - Yafo
  • 24 - 34
    Jerusalem
    25 - 30
    Haifa
  • 31 - 43
    Elat
    27 - 40
    Tiberias