Israel abandons plan to forcibly deport African migrants

The government had been working for months on an arrangement to expel thousands of mostly Eritrean and Sudanese men. (AFP)
Updated 24 April 2018
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Israel abandons plan to forcibly deport African migrants

  • The government had been working for months on an arrangement to expel thousands of mostly Eritrean and Sudanese men
  • Around 4,000 migrants have left Israel for Rwanda and Uganda since 2013

JERUSALEM: The Israeli government said on Tuesday it was abandoning a plan to forcibly deport African migrants who entered the country illegally.
The government had been working for months on an arrangement to expel thousands of mostly Eritrean and Sudanese men who crossed into Israel through Egypt’s Sinai desert.
“At this stage, the possibility of carrying out an unwilling deportation to a third country is not on the agenda,” the government wrote in a response to the court.
The migrants, it said, will again be able to renew residency permits every 60 days, as they were before the deportation push.
The migrants and rights groups say they are seeking asylum and are fleeing war and persecution. The government says they are job seekers and that it has every right to protect its borders.
Around 4,000 migrants have left Israel for Rwanda and Uganda since 2013 under a voluntary program, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come under pressure from his right-wing voter base to expel thousands more.
After leaving a UN-backed relocation plan a few weeks ago, Israel shifted efforts toward finalizing an arrangement to send the migrants against their will to Uganda.
A number of migrant rights groups petitioned the Supreme Court to block any such policy.


Two Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in Gaza Strip: ministry

Updated 13 min 51 sec ago
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Two Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in Gaza Strip: ministry

GAZA CITY: Israeli tank fire, at what is claimed to be a militant observation post, killed two Palestinians in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday, the enclave’s health ministry and sources from the militant movement said.
The ministry identified those killed as Hussein Al-Amour, 25, and Abdul Haleem Al-Naqa, 28. The incident happened east of the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, a ministry spokesman said.

Separately on Saturday night, Israeli aircraft struck two targets belonging to Islamist movement Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, but there were no reports of casualties.
The military said the operation was in response to a brief incursion across the border earlier in the day by Palestinians who immediately fled back into Gaza.
It added that the strike was also in retaliation for repeated Palestinian attempts to damage the border fence and "security infrastructure" during ongoing border protests.
At least 118 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the Gaza Strip since mass protests and clashes broke out on March 30, according to figures from the Gazan health ministry.
No Israelis have been killed during that time.
Low-level demonstrations along the border have continued since protests peaked on May 14, when at least 61 Palestinians died as tens of thousands of Gazans protested the US moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Israel says its actions are necessary to defend the border and stop mass incursions into its territory.
It accuses Hamas, with whom it has fought three wars since 2008, of seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence.