Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of asylum-seeker deal

04 April, 2018, 01:06 | Author: Essie Rivera
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Thousands of the migrants concentrated in poor neighborhoods in south Tel Aviv, an area that has become known as "Little Africa", where ethnic food shops and phone card stalls line the streets. But in 2013, Israel completed a fence running the length of the Sinai border, halting the flow of illegal migrants there nearly immediately. The same number would be given temporary residency status within Israel and trained in sectors such as solar energy and agriculture.

"The delay is not enough, we have to move to a new plan that will move the illegal infiltrators out of Israel", Bennett added, reiterating earlier criticism that the United Nations deal faced from Israeli nationalist lawmakers. Even though the government didn't specify where the refugees would go, immigrant rights groups said the countries in question were Rwanda and Uganda.

The UNHCR in a statement confirmed an agreement was signed with Israel but did not name the countries that would accept the migrants.

But legal and political problems had slowed the deportation plan dramatically. The Supreme Court had frozen the deportations in mid-March after a petition filed by opponents, and had been waiting for the government to respond to the petition. Yesterday, countries indicated by Netanyahu as an example of a possible destination for migrants - including Italy and Germany - denied giving their consent to the agreement between Israel and the United Nations refugee agency. "Occasionally a decision is reached that has to be reconsidered", he said Tuesday at a meeting with anti-migrant activists from south Tel Aviv, where numerous migrants reside.

But for critics, suspension alone wasn't enough. Naftali Bennett, head of the right-wing Jewish Home party, said it would "turn Israel into a paradise for infiltrators".

He added that that the government must "proceed to a new roadmap will remove the illegal infiltrators from Israel". He called for the plan to be brought to the Cabinet for a vote.

More than 39,000 asylum seekers, mainly from Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea, now live in Israel.

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In Italy, a Foreign Ministry source said: "There is no agreement with Italy in the context of the bilateral agreement between Israel and the UNHCR".

It is unclear if Israel could now return to its previous plan to deport African asylum seekers.

"After having heard numerous comments on the agreement, I have examined the pros and cons and have chose to cancel the agreement", Netanyahu said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

The issue has divided Israel for a decade and drawn fierce criticism.

"Guess it's just one of those days".

As many as 60,000 people, most fleeing Sudan, Eritrea and other countries with wretched human rights records, crossed illegally into Israel through the porous border with Egypt between 2005 and 2012.

Israeli Prime Minister said on Tuesday that an electronic fence along the Israel-Egypt border has saved the Jewish state from jihadist attacks or what he believes would be worse - a tide of.

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