I’m reading a lot of outrage from people who object to seeing dead Syrian children in their Facebook/Twitter feed, and I understand their point of view, but I don’t share it.
Over 250,000 Syrians have been killed since 2011, most of them by the Assad regime. The world has done nothing to protect civilians in Syria to allow them to stay in their homeland. Calls made by Syrians since October 2011 for a No Fly Zone have gone unanswered.
Such powerful images affect world opinion – we know this because Europe increased its rescue operations in the Mediterranean after terrible images of refugee bodies appeared throughout European media. Such images also affect individuals into caring more about the Syrian crisis and donating. I know this because since the photo of 3-year-old Elan al-Kurdi went viral, several Israelis have asked my how they can donate to Syrian refugees.
Unfortunately, people need to shocked into action and images do this. A lengthy article (for example, this great one ) about the Syrian refugee crisis are read by few, but images are shared and seen by many.
If the image of little Elan saves future lives or alleviates the suffering of Syrians, it is our duty to bear witness and make others do so as well.
If you want to help Syrians inside Syria and Syrian refugees, please consider donating to these two excellent Syrian aid NGOs, which have done great work for years now. Their work is based on dedicated volunteers, and hence the overhead costs are very low.
Donations can be made from Israel too, as they are registered outside of Syria.
If you want to donate to an international NGO, please consider donation to Doctors without Borders who operate hospitals in Syria and rescue refugees at sea
After a passionate debate and a filibuster by opposition members of Knesset, the new amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration Law passed 30 to 15 early Tuesday morning. The new amendment, hurriedly drafted and passed by the governing coalition, will replace the 2012 amendment to the law, which was nixed by the High Court of Justice three months ago.
The previous amendment to the law permitted the detention of asylum seekers without trial for a three-year period in Israel’s Saharonim and Ktziot prisons. Under the new amendment, asylum seekers will be jailed for one year in the prisons, followed by additional indefinite detention in a specially constructed internment camp operated by the Israeli Prison Service.
Read the rest of my reports on +972 Magazine
In June 2012, Israel began implementing the amendment to the Anti-Infiltration Law according to which all asylum seekers who cross the Israel-Egypt border are automatically jailed or subjected to internment for a minimum period of three years without trial. [Note: Internment is the imprisonment or confinement of people, commonly in large groups, without trial.]
Citizens of ‘enemy states’ (such as Sudan) are jailed indefinitely. The law does not include an exception for children or asylum seekers who have survived the torture camps in Sinai. The amendment to the law, promoted by the Benjamin Netanyahu government, passed into law in January 2012, but its implementation was postponed because Israel did not have enough prison places to accommodate the flow of asylum seekers entering Israel. During 2012, the Israeli government undertook a massive construction effort, erecting three new internment camps for asylum seekers. In addition to the expansion of the already-operational Saharonim interment camp (3,500 prison places), Israel constructed the Ktziot (2,400 prison places), Nachal Raviv (4,000 prison places) and Sadot (8,000 prison places) camps. The camps, most of them consisting of tents surrounded by guard posts, fences and barbed wire, were erected near the Israel-Egypt border, in the Negev desert.
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The Prevention of Infiltration Law, which enables asylum seekers to be detained for three years or more without trial, can now be applied to anyone with a ‘criminal background.’ But what does ‘criminal background’ mean? It’s unclear.
In early July 2012, the Ministry of Interior and the Israel Police decided to allow asylum seekers with a vaguely defined “criminal background” to be detained under the new Prevention of Infiltration Law. Following the expansion of prisons to hold thousands more migrants, Israel began enforcing the law on June 3. Since then, all newly arrived asylum seekers, including children and torture survivors, are jailed without trial for a minimum period of three years. According to the new decision, asylum seekers who were arrested upon entering Israel but released from detention before the law’s implementation can be detained again if they have a “criminal background.”
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