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Netanyahu cancels African asylum seekers UNHRC deal

April 4, 2018 at 9:58 am

African asylum seekers in Israel demonstrating against their planned deportation [FlickR]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled a deal with the UN Refugee Agency on Tuesday to resettle 16,000 African asylum seekers and the same number in Western countries. The deal was cancelled only 24 hours after it was agreed, allegedly over internal partisan and government coalition pressure.

According to Haaretz, Netanyahu announced the cancellation as he started a meeting with Israeli residents in the south of Tel Aviv, where hundreds of the asylum seekers should have been resettled.


“I listened closely to many comments about the agreement,” the Prime Minister explained. “After re-evaluating the advantages and disadvantages, I decided to cancel the deal.”

He added that he discussed the issue with the Minister of the Interior as well as professionals in the sector. “Despite the growing legal and international limitation, we will continue to work with determination to exhaust all possibilities at our disposal to remove the infiltrators,” he insisted.

One of those calling for the deal to be cancelled was Education Minister Naftali Bennet. He also described the asylum seekers as “infiltrators” and said that the deal with the UN was “bad for Israel.”

“It would set a precedent,” the far-right winger pointed out, “if Israel was seen to be granting citizenship openly to illegal infiltrators.”

Read: Israel court suspends plan to deport African migrants