7 July 2014 — The Real News Network
Sudanese and Eritrean refugees in Israel’s so-called “open prison” go on hunger strike after failed attempt to leave for Egypt
Lia Tarachansky is an Israeli-Russian journalist with The Real News Network reporting on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Born in the Soviet Union, Tarachansky grew up in a settlement in the occupied West Bank. She is the director of On the Side of the Road, a documentary on Israel’s biggest taboo – the events of 1948 when the state was created. Tarachansky previously worked as a Newsroom Producer in The Real News’ Washington D.C. and Toronto Headquarters, and her work appeared on BBC, Al Jazeera, USA Today, Canadian Dimension Magazine and others.
Just as the Hunger Strike led by Palestinian political prisoners ended last week, African refugees in Israel’s desert detention centers began their own. On Friday afternoon, nearly a thousand asylum seekers and refugees left Israel’s so-called “open prison” in the Negev Desert. Following months, and in some cases years, of imprisonment under Israel’s newly amended anti-infiltration law the refugees decided to protest the prison conditions and the very fact that while seeking asylum they were imprisoned indefinitely. After leaving the jail, the refugees headed to the border with Egypt, which they were violently stopped from reaching by the Israeli army. They then decided to camp out in a nearby grove, urging the UN to intervene and allow them passage out of Israel. But on Sunday night, massive forces of Israeli special police units removed them and transferred them back jail, where they went on hunger strike. Special thanks to journalists David Sheen, Simone Wilson, and Oren Ziv of ActiveStills.org