Israel plan to forcibly deport illegal African migrants 'no longer on agenda'

Apr 28, 2018, 14:58
Israel plan to forcibly deport illegal African migrants 'no longer on agenda'

Eighteen Jewish Democrats out of 21 in the House of Representatives said in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that they were "dismayed" and "disappointed" over his retreat from a plan that replaced his earlier proposal to deport tens of thousands of African migrants from Israel.

As a result, "no further decisions on third-country expulsion will be issued at this time", the state said.

Following petitions to the Supreme Court calling to halt the deportation, the state told the court that it has chose to abandon a plan to deport the asylum seekers to a "third country".

The migrants will again be able to renew residency permits every 60 days, as they were before the deportation push, the government said.

However, it said in a written response to the Supreme Court on Tuesday that it was no longer pursuing that option, Reuters said.

African asylum seekers and activists protest against plans to deport migrants at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on March 24, 2018.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu tweeted that he would prepare to reopen Israeli detention facilities for the migrants. "Israel remains under the obligation not to transfer anyone to a country where they would be unsafe", Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa said while reacting to government move to abandon the deportation plans.

"The Israeli government's attempts to negotiate with Uganda or Rwanda over receiving deported asylum seekers had failed, " it said.

But Netanyahu went back on that deal hours later following criticism from his party and conservative allies.

The immigration authority is still planning to deport the illegal migrants voluntarily. A United Nations plan would have left half the migrants in Israel with undetermined status while seeking countries willing to absorb the other half, a process that can take up to five years.

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