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.


Natural gas fields give Israel a regional political boost

Updated 48 sec ago
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Natural gas fields give Israel a regional political boost

  • The new discovery allows Israel to build tighter relations with neighboring countries
  • The inclusion of Israel in the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo was the first time Arab countries accept the state into a regional alliance

JERUSALEM: The discovery of natural gas fields off Israel’s coast along the Mediterranean Sea has given the country a geopolitical boost with its neighbors.
It’s tightened relations with Arab allies and built new bridges in a historically hostile region — even without significant progress toward peace with the Palestinians.
Last week’s inclusion of Israel into the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo — a consortium aiming to cut infrastructure costs and lower prices — marked the first time Arab countries accepted the Jewish state into such a regional alliance, sparking excitement in Israel that its long-held hope of finally also making “economic peace” with Egypt and Jordan was fast approaching.
The forum, which also includes Cyprus, Greece, Italy and the Palestinian Authority, aims to emerge as a mini-OPEC of sorts.