tiptrot.com July 17, 2018

Benjamin Netanyahu Cancels Agreement to Resettle African Migrants

04 April 2018, 01:11 | Bernice Figueroa

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The deal means thousands more of the primarily Sudanese and Eritrean migrants will remain in Israel at least temporarily.

But in making his case for the agreement with UNHCR on Monday, Mr Netanyahu said Rwanda had backed off from an initial willingness to accept expelled Eritreans and Sudanese.

There are now around 37,000 asylum seekers in Israel and a few thousand children of asylum seekers, according to government figures and estimates. "As a result, and after I again weighed the advantages and disadvantages, I made a decision to cancel the deal", a statement from the prime minister's office quoted Netanyahu as saying.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew back his announcement that Israel would absorb thousands of the illegal migrants, following critism and pressure from his coalition partners.

By Tuesday, the deal was dead. Netanyahu also blamed the US-based liberal advocacy group New Israel Fund and "elements" in the European Union for pressing Rwanda to reject the government's proposed resettlement of African migrants in the country.

Rwanda's minister of state for foreign affairs, Olivier Nduhungirehe, says no deal was ever signed with Israel, adding that "we have a general open policy on the refugees but our condition is that those migrants must be willing to come to Rwanda without any form of constraint". However, other officials objected to the fact that 16,250 migrants would be resettled in Israel.

The facility was closed last month as part of the previous plan. A city councilman in Tel Aviv, where numerous migrants would be resettled, called the agreement a "disaster that will reverberate for generations and cause irreversible damage to the country".

Mr Netanyahu's suspension of the agreement was not enough for Mr Bennett, who tweeted early on Tuesday that it needed to be "completely cancelled".

He said, however, that "despite juridical limitations and growing worldwide difficulties we will continue to act with determination to use all the means at our disposal to get the infiltrated people out of the country".

Netanyahu said in his remarks on Monday that he had to abandon the earlier plan because the option of sending them to a third country "no longer exists". The New Israel Fund also called Netanyahu's accusations "pathetic". Refugees from unsafe places will be absorbed in Israel, work migrants will be sent back. By signing this agreement, we are sending a unsafe message to the whole world: Whoever succeeds in infiltrating Israel illegally will get a prize of legal residence here or a Western country.

It claimed there were attempts to damage the fence and "infiltrate" Israel.

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