Thursday, 1 September 2011

Israel deports children to preserve 'Jewish character' of state

(Israel arrested and attempted to deport a migrant worker and her young child last month. Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

JERUSALEM (IPS) - After Israel attempted to deport the first migrant workers’ child educated in its school system, human rights groups are calling on the Israeli government to develop a clear immigration policy and an official protocol that will minimize the psychological impact of detaining and deporting young children.

“We ask the government to show humanity and compassion to these children and to their families and to try to work out a policy which will not on one hand deport the children and at the same time bring [new] people into Israel again and deprive them of their right to raise a family,” Moriel Matalon, chairman of the Israel branch of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said.

In addition to the negative effects of this “revolving door” immigration policy, Matalon said that putting the children of migrant workers in jail prior to deportation is a clear violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which Israel is a signatory.

“It’s unjustified to put the children with their parents in jail or in prison, even for a temporary period of time. This can have a tremendous adverse effect on the raising up of the child,” Matalon said. “These children have committed no crime whatsoever. There’s no reason they should spend any time in jail.”

In July 2009, the Israeli government announced its intention to deport 1,200 children of undocumented migrant workers. After a great deal of criticism, an inter-ministerial committee finally approved the deportation of 400 children in August last year, while the remaining 800 were told they could apply for permanent status in Israel if they met certain requirements. more

Turkey tells Israel to apologise by Friday or face the consequences

Menacing message from Ankara: Ahead of expected publication of UN report Friday on deadly flotilla raid, Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu says Israel must apologize or face 'Plan B'

Turkey's foreign minister issued a menacing warning to Israel Thursday, saying the Jewish state must apologize for a deadly 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound vessel by the time the UN report on the incident is published.

The UN Palmer Report is expected to be released in the coming days, and likely as early as Friday.

Addressing ongoing delays in releasing the UN report on the lethal IDF raid, Ahmet said, "It is not remotely possible for us to agree to a six-month delay," the Turkish Zaman news website reported.

“For us the deadline (for the formal apology from Israeli officials) is the day the UN report gets released, or we resort to Plan B,” Davutoglu said, but did not elaborate on what the alternate Turkish route would be.

"We are not in a position to tell the UN to release or delay it," the Turkish minister added, referring to the upcoming Palmer Report, "but we will do as necessary when the UN finally does release it." more

Israel's finance minister says UN statehood bid is greater threat to state than Hamas

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- The Palestinian campaign to secure full UN membership presents a greater threat to Israel than that posed by Hamas, the Israeli finance minister said on Wednesday.

"This Palestinian initiative represents a more serious threat than that posed by Hamas," Yuval Steinitz told Israel's public radio.

If the Palestinians made good on their plans to seek United Nations membership, Israel would "respond," he promised.

Although Steinitz did not spell out exactly how Israel would retaliate, his remarks were made shortly after Haaretz newspaper published a report saying the minister had blocked the payment of 380 million shekels ($106 million) in tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority.

Officials in the West Bank city of Ramallah were not immediately available to comment on the report. more