Israeli pilots call on foreign airlines to boycott deportation of Eritrean and Sudanese refugees

“El Al pilots refusing to fly Eritrean and Sudanese migrants to Africa,” reports the Jerusalem Post. This comes during what the paper calls “an aggressive government deportation plan, reached out to their international counterparts Wednesday in a bid to ground all potential deportation flights to dangerous third countries.”

“The online campaign, launched two weeks ago by the NGO Zazim Community Action, comes as the Interior Ministry reportedly intends to indefinitely imprison or forcibly deport tens of thousands of the 38,000 migrants to a third country in April.”

According to the NGO’s Chief Executive, Raluca Gena, the amnesty campaign is the first step toward a series of activities against what they, and many other human rights organizations and Jewish communities around the world, are deeming an immoral deportation.

“The [El Al] pilots have called on foreign airlines – some of which are already taking part in the expulsion – not to cooperate, and their message can have a great impact on these companies,” Gena said on Wednesday.

“We are witnessing an unprecedented wave of protest by citizens from all walks of life,” she said.

This petition – by the Israeli human rights group – has won wide support. The group, Zazim Community Action, put out this statement.

Thousands of Israelis have already sent direct messages to the Israeli Pilots Union, ground operations companies in Ben Gurion Airport, and international airlines flying from Tel-Aviv, calling on them to say no to the cruel deportation plan. Now several Israeli pilots responded and declared they will refuse to fly people to their death! We know our voices matter – and now you can join the fight: – Send a personal message directly to the airlines and pilots and tell them to do the right thing.

In recent months, German pilots stopped over 200 deportation flights by arguing that deporting refugees against their will can make the entire flight unsafe. In London, a pilot simply refused to take off when he found out there was a refugee being deported on the plane.

All over the world – from Europe to the United States – citizens are fighting back against deportations and standing up for refugees. And we can do the same here in Israel. Tell the pilots now: Stand on the right side of history, don’t deport refugees.

Since 2013, when Israel finally started accepting asylum requests, over 13,000 requests have been filed. Yet the majority of requests are systematically ignored, and only a handful received refugee status. In European countries more than 70% of asylum requests from Eritrea and Sudan are accepted – in Israel it is less than 1%.

Now the government is implementing a mass deportation, and even suggesting forcibly loading refugees on planes. We can – and must – stop it. Join the call now

 

 

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