Amid growing protest against the presence of illegal migrants in Israel, six heads of human rights organizations and refugee aid groups on Monday announced that they plan to shun a Knesset session scheduled to be held on Tuesday.
The session, which was called by the Knesset's Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, is expected to deal with different aspects of the phenomenon, including violence among infiltrators and police responsiveness.
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In a letter signed by the heads of the Association of Civil Rights for Israel (ACRI), Hotline for Migrant Workers, Kav LaOved (Worker's Hotline), Assaf, Physicians for Human Rights and Amnesty International- Israel, it said: "Following the unruly incitement against asylum seekers and human rights activists by members of Knesset, we decided not to attend the session to which we were invited.
"During the past sessions we learned that these meeting are nothing more than a platform to spew incitement against asylum seekers and activists by Knesset members, including those who initiated the upcoming meeting (MK Danny Danon and MK Miri Regev)."
'Fanning fear and hatred'
The letter added that "instead of adopting solutions that will reduce the problems and cool down the spirits, we are hearing provocative statements that are fanning fear and hatred. We are choosing not to serve as the background props in this charade, and therefore will not take part in the meeting."
The authors of the letter thanked Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin for expressing disapproval over the harsh statements made recently against migrants, and noted that they are joining other MKs in demanding that the government forms a policy to deal with the situation.
"The current policy prevents asylum seekers from seeking employment, pushing them into poverty and distress, and encourages exploitation. As a result, concentrations of asylum seekers have formed in economically weak areas, where they can afford to find shelter.
"We believe that there are solutions," the managers noted, "The government must allow asylum seekers to work, and give them access to medical services. These steps would help them break out of the misery cycle, and would ease the burden on these neighborhoods.
"Resources must be invested into these neighborhoods in order to improve the infrastructure for all their residents. Alongside these steps, there must be a genuine process to examine the asylum petitions and issue refugee statuses to those entitled," the letter said.
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