Archive for January 24th, 2015

Israel closes two Islamic charities

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Israel police and the security agency Shin Bet yesterday closed two Muslim charities in Israel under claims of funding Israeli Islamist movements and Hamas, AFP and the Anadolu Agency reported.

The Muslim Women for Al-Aqsa, in East Jerusalem, and Al-Fajr Foundation for Culture and Literature in the Arab city of Nazareth in northern Israel, were all shut down.

According to a statement issued by the Israeli police, the charities were suspected of financing “organizations which identify with Hamas” and encouraging activists to confront visitors to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon outlawed the charities last month claiming they posed a threat on Israeli national security. Shin Bet implemented Ya’alon’s order.

“The charities… are suspected of paying activists who go every day to the Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa Mosque],” a police statement said.

The charities said the Israeli police raided their offices and “confiscated computers, documents and bank records from two of the offices and arrested employees for questioning”.

In a statement they denied all accusations of money-laundering and financing “terror” activities or “violence” at Al-Aqsa Mosque and denied any links to “terrorist organizations”.

Adding that the Muslim Women for Al-Aqsa “organizes study for women inside the mosque and supervises their activities.”

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Thai workers subject to abuse on Israeli farms

21 January 2015 Wednesday

Thai farm workers in Israel are being subjected to dangerous working conditions that amount to human rights abuse, a leading rights group said Wednesday.

Human Rights Watch reported the Thai workers, who make up the bulk of Israel’s agricultural force, are paid less than the minimum wage, work excessively long hours in dangerous circumstances and are housed in squalid conditions.

“Thai workers in the agricultural sector in Israel are forced to work in dangerous conditions, using pesticides without appropriate equipment,” Phil Robertson, the group’s deputy director for Asia, told The Anadolu Agency.

“Thai authorities should put this issue at the top of the list when they speak to Israel and ask Israel to get to the bottom of these human rights abuses.”

A 48-page report – “A Raw Deal: Abuses of Thai Workers in Israel’s Agricultural Sector” – is based on interviews with 173 Thai workers in ten farming communities.

“All said that they were paid less than the legal minimum wage, forced to work far more hours than the legal limit, exposed to unsafe working conditions and had difficulties if they tried to change employers,” according to the report.

“In all but one of the 10 communities where Human Rights Watch investigated living conditions, Thai workers were housed in makeshift and inadequate accommodation,” the report added.

On one farm, workers were living in cardboard shelters inside farm sheds.

Contacted on Wednesday, an official at the Thai Foreign Ministry said he was unaware of the report.

Around 25,000 Thai workers toil on Israeli farms and the report underlined the unusually high death rate among Thais. According to government figures published by Israeli newspaper Haaretz, 122 Thai farm workers died between 2008 and 2013.

Of these, 43 were attributed to “sudden nocturnal death syndrome,” a heart condition that affects young Asian men.

In the case of a 37-year-old man who died in his sleep in May 2013, co-workers said they slept in a cramped space in a farm shed and worked up to 17 hours a day, with no rest days. On another farm, a Thai worker said that he felt like “dead meat” at the end of a working day, which typically began at 4:30 a.m. and ended at 7 p.m.

The report recognized that Israeli laws have been improved and are protective of migrant workers’ rights.

Despite this, “Israel is doing far too little to uphold the workers’ rights and protect them from exploitation,” Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said.
Source: World Bulletin.