Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has signed a series of diplomatic agreements that enables his government to skip a ruling made by the Israeli High Court of Justice and forcefully expel African refugees, Israel Hayom said on Monday.
According to the Israeli paper, Netanyahu met with African leaders during the UNGA in New York and amended Israeli agreements with them so as to allow refugees to be forcefully deported.
The new amendments give the Israeli government an opportunity to continue procedures for the forceful deportation of the “illegal infiltrator,” the newspaper said.
It noted that since 2014 the Israeli government has implemented a “carrot and stick” policy as it offers a $3,500 grant for those who voluntarily leave Israel to Uganda and Rwanda and sends those who do not leave to prison.
This procedure is based on agreements with countries in Africa.
Following a petition by several human rights organisations the High Court of Justice in August ruled that Israel could not hold the migrants in detention facilities for more than 12 months.
After the High Court’s ruling Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri issued directions to modify the ruling so that his ministry is able to detain the refugees for unlimited periods in case they reject the decision to leave Israel. Netanyahu supported this step, but no modifications were issued.
Based on the new amendments, the newspaper revealed, Israel is able to implement various restrictions on refugees, including more forceful deportation, as well as exert executive authority to invalidate the restrictions imposed by the High Court.
Israeli official statistics show that there are 27,000 Eritrean and 8,000 Sudanese refugees currently in Israel.
Human rights groups have criticised the amendments, considering this an unprecedented dangerous procedure.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz has previously published several accounts of refugees who were forcefully deported from Israel, which put their lives in danger; many have died as a result.