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Israel faces nonviolent action from Palestinians and Africans

On 31 January, about 300 Palestinian activists re-occupied Ein Hijleh, a village in the Jordan Valley that was forcibly depopulated when Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967.

The Palestinian popular struggle coordination committee, which organised the occupation, said the aim was to ‘refuse the political status quo, especially given futile negotiations destroying the rights of our people for liberation and claim to their land.’

During the occupation, activists began to make the crumbling houses inhabitable, planted trees, installed solar panels, hosted political, religious and diplomatic leaders, screened films and held cultural and political discussions.

On 7 February, hundreds of Israeli soldiers cleared the activists. Dozens were arrested and 41 injured, according to reports.

Asylum rights

At the same time, thousands of African asylum-seekers took part in a protest encampment in Levinsky Park, Tel Aviv, in the cold and rain, as part of a campaign against the persecution of refugees. In January, thousands marched on foreign embassies in Tel Aviv and demonstrated outside the knesset in Jerusalem.

Since January, the Israeli government has ordered over 3,500 asylum seekers to report to the new Holot detention facility in the Negev desert where they are held without trial for up to a year.

The migrants, mostly asylum-seekers from Eritrea and Sudan, are demanding official refugee status.