ICYMI | #152

East Jerusalem demolitions | SocialCard demo | Maduro cracks down

By Staff

Our weekly roundup of stories you may have missed.

Demolitions in East Jerusalem

Humanitarian aid has not reached people in northern Gaza since 23 January. As famine looms across the enclave, Israeli authorities have accelerated the demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem – 87 homes have been demolished since 7 October, with 97 demolished in the first 9 months of 2023. Monday is the final day of the current ICJ hearing on Israel’s occupation of Palestine, in which over 50 countries have made the case that the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza is illegal.

SocialCard demonstration in Berlin 28 February

A new “SocialCard” for asylum seekers could soon be implemented across Germany, robbing refugees of essential freedoms and increasing the struggle of those already living in precarity. The Visa card prohibits cash withdrawals, as well as online and international payments, and heavily regulates how and where people can spend their money. Xwendekarên Berlin (Kurdische Studierende Berlin) is organising a demo in Berlin on 28 February to protest against Germany’s racist migration policy. Join from 18:00 at U-Bahn Mehringdamm.

Italy and Albania reach new migration deal

Italy has reached a new controversial migration deal with Albania. Last Thursday, the heads of state agreed to proceed with the construction of Italian-run “migrant processing centres” near the coast of Albania. Under this deal, up to 36000 asylum seekers from Italy will be relocated to the EU candidate country to wait for their cases to be processed. The deal has been heavily criticized by human rights groups like the International Rescue Committee and Amnesty International describing it as illegal and calling out the dehumanizing language of “processing centres”. If implemented, the deal could be used to circumvent EU laws and dent applicants the right to asylum.

Pro-Israel pamphlets distributed in Neukölln schools

Berlin authorities have mandated schools in Neukölln, known for its large Palestinian community, to distribute pamphlets called “The Myth of Israel #1948”, Middle East Eye reports. The pamphlet claims that the 1948 Nakba (when 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homeland) was purely “defensive”, and that all occupation of Palestinian territory was carried out legally – including the creation of settlements that have been internationally recognised as illegal.

Escalating violence in Amhara

An Ethiopian drone has killed at least 15 civilians in Ethiopia’s Amhara region. The airstrike comes amid ongoing fighting between the local Fano rebel group and state forces. Fighting broke out in the region last April after the country made attempts to integrate local groups into the national military. The country declared a state of emergency in August, limiting access to information and freedom of movement. Previously, the Tigray war (2020-22) between the local paramilitary and the state forces killed up to an estimated 600,000 people and left the region facing devastating famine. Civilians continue to shoulder the burden of violent clashes between state forces and armed groups.

Crackdown ahead of Venezuelan elections

The Maduro government has arrested the lawyer and human rights defender Rocío San Miguel and expelled the UN Human Rights office from the capital of Caracas. In the run up to elections later this year, Maduro is tightening his grip on civil society. Opposition leader María Corina Machado was also disqualified from running against him, and three of her aides arrested under charges of treason last month. Since the country’s economic collapse accelerated in 2014, the Venezeulan government has continuously silenced critics and committed crimes against humanity, torture and kidnappings. 

Iuventa search and rescue crew on trial

The crew of the Iuventa, a rescue vessel that was seized by Italian authorities, are currently on trial for “facilitating irregular entry” of refugees and migrants to Italy. The team of volunteers helped to rescue 14,000 people in distress in the Mediterranean before being criminalised in 2017. The final stage of the trial’s preliminary hearing will begin this week. Donate now to help fund their legal defense.

Header image: Israeli settlements in the West Bank, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED.