Netanyahu says African migrants worse threat than extremists

Benjamin Netanyahu said at the Negev Development Conference in Dimona: ‘Were it not for the fence, we would be faced with ... severe attacks by Sinai terrorists, and something much worse, a flood of illegal migrants from Africa.’ (AFP)
Updated 20 March 2018
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Netanyahu says African migrants worse threat than extremists

DIMONA, Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that an electronic fence along the Israel-Egypt border has saved the Jewish state from extremist attacks or what he believes would be worse — a tide of African migrants.
“Were it not for the fence, we would be faced with ... severe attacks by Sinai terrorists, and something much worse, a flood of illegal migrants from Africa,” Netanyahu’s office quoted him as telling a development conference in the southern Israel desert town of Dimona.
The interior ministry says there are currently some 42,000 African migrants in Israel, mainly from Sudan and Eritrea, and the government has ordered that thousands of them must leave or face indefinite imprisonment.
They began slipping into Israel illegally in 2007 through what was then a porous border with Egypt’s lawless Sinai region.
The frontier with Israel’s Negev desert has since been given a 200-kilometer (124 mile) hi-tech fence and the influx has halted.
Netanyahu said a tide of non-Jewish immigration would threaten the very fabric of Israel.
“We are talking about a Jewish and democratic state, but how could we assure a Jewish and democratic state with 50,000 and then 100,000 and 150,000 migrants a year,” Netanyahu said.
“After a million, 1.5 million, we might as well shut up shop,” he added. “We did not close down, we built a fence.”
Today the mountainous Sinai is a battleground between the Egyptian army and Daesh extremists.
The army launched a campaign on February 9 after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who is standing in elections this month for a second term, gave it a three-month deadline to crush Daesh in the Sinai.
Sissi issued his ultimatum in November after suspected Daesh gunmen killed more than 300 worshippers at a Sinai mosque associated with Sufi Muslim mystics.


Israel locks down Ramallah after two soldiers shot dead

Updated 14 December 2018
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Israel locks down Ramallah after two soldiers shot dead

  • The bloodshed began when Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians
  • Hours later, a Palestinian gunman killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded a third

AMMAN: Israel was accused on Thursday of humiliating Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by placing Ramallah on virtual lockdown amid a 24-hour outbreak of violence in which five people died.

The bloodshed began when Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians suspected of earlier attacks. Salah Barghouti, 29, was accused of shooting seven Israelis on Sunday at a bus station near the Ofra settlement. Ashraf Naalwa, 23, shot two Israelis dead in the Barkan industrial zone settlement in October.

Hours later, a Palestinian gunman killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded a third when he opened fire at the Ofra bus station.

Israeli forces chased the gunman into Ramallah, where they set up road blocks, launched raids and placed the town under virtual siege. In the hunt for the gunman, a Palestinian was shot dead in Al-Bireh neighborhood of Ramallah.

Abbas Zaki, a leading Fatah official, told Arab News Palestinian frustration was being fueled by Israel. “They barged into Ramallah in violation of existing agreements and came very close to the home of President Abbas.

“What more do people need to see to let them give up on a process when Israelis are willing to humiliate in such a way the father of Palestinian peace?”

Abbas himself condemned the anti-Israeli attacks but blamed Israeli raids as a potential cause.

“The climate created by the policy of repeated intrusions into the cities, the provocations against the sovereignty of the president and the lack of a horizon for peace are what led to this unacceptable violence that we condemn and reject,” he said.