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Israel calls for use of administrative detention against African migrants

September 4, 2023 at 10:49 am

Eritrean asylum seekers clash with the Israeli police in Tel Aviv, Israel on September 02, 2023 [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

Israel has decided to use administrative detention against African migrants accused by the police of rioting, Maan news agency reported yesterday.

The Israeli occupation government also decided to cancel work permits given to migrants living in Israel.

Meanwhile, Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir suggested that African migrants living in south Tel Aviv be forcibly moved to the neighbourhoods in the north of the city.

This came, according to the Israeli media, in the wake of protests by Eritrean migrants.

A special ministerial committee met and discussed the matter and approved widespread arrests of suspects during the protests and allowed police to use an administrative procedure that lowers the evidentiary bar for detention.

READ: Jerusalem: 3 Palestinians killed and 132 detained in August

“Let’s move them to north Tel Aviv,” Channel 12 news reported Ben-Gvir as saying. “Is it possible to pass legislation that limits their place of residence?” he asked.

Levin responded: “Let’s pass such a law. If it was near the homes of specific people, they wouldn’t let it happen… and what about deportation?”

“Let’s challenge the High Court’s decision — they are disconnected from what is happening, live where they live, and are less interested,” Levin said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said migration from African countries constituted “a real threat to Israel’s character and future as a Jewish and democratic state.”

He said that while many of the migrants had departed over the years, tens of thousands remain. He lamented the fact that various government “suggestions” to incentivise migrants to leave had been blocked by the High Court of Justice.

“We request strong measures against rioters, including the immediate deportation of those who took part in it,” Netanyahu said.

At least 170 people were wounded, including police officers, in hours-long clashes on Saturday in south Tel Aviv between supporters and opponents of Eritrea’s government, the Times of Israel reported. Some 40 people were arrested.

Clashes erupted as Eritrean diplomats held an event celebrating the 30-year rule of President Isaias Afwerki in Tel Aviv. Those opposed to Atweki’s rule turned up to demonstrate against it.