Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, has cancelled a deal with the UN to relocate African migrants to other Western nations including Canada and Italy.
The issue of African migrants in Israel has always been a contentious issue. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, has cancelled a deal with the UN to relocate African migrants.
Netanyahu reached the decision after consultations made with the residents of South Tel Aviv, the part of the capital which has the largest concentration of African migrants. This is not to say the intentions have been shelved already as the PM said that he would now consider "all options... to remove the infiltrators".
More than 30 000 African migrants entered Israel through illegal channels and their fate has always hung on the balance for far too long, and the ominous threat of drastic measures being taken on them is something they live with everyday.
The UN's refugee agency, the UNHCR, said Mr Netanyahu's decision was a "disappointment" and urged the Israeli government to "consider the matter further". Under the five-year plan, some 16,250 African migrants who entered the country illegally, many of them seeking asylum, would be resettled in Western nations, which Mr Netanyahu had said included Germany, Italy and Canada.
For every migrant that would be resettled, Israel would give "temporary residence" to a migrant in Israel. Canada already had a separate plan with Israel where almost 2,000 asylum seekers who have requested either immigration status or asylum in Canada will be processed there.
Remember that controversial plan for the mass deportations to third-party countries in Africa if individuals did not go voluntarily? It had been suspended by Israel's Supreme Court and had been replaced by this UN deal. It was said by the PM that the deal failed because Rwanda had pulled out.
Being a migrant is not because someone loves being of that status. It is the least one can desire to be. But adverse conditions not conducive for a good life force people to take desperate measures in a pursuit for a good life.
Most of the African migrants in Israel are from Eritrea - a one-party state whose leaders have been accused of crimes against humanity by a UN inquiry - and war-torn Sudan. They fled danger at home, and it is not safe for them to return.
Image credit: EPA
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