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  4. "End the occupation !" PAJU Vigil # 882, January 5, 2018: Tens Of Thousands of Migrants Threatened With Expulsion From Israel

"End the occupation !" PAJU Vigil # 882, January 5, 2018: Tens Of Thousands of Migrants Threatened With Expulsion From Israel

Publication date : 2018-01-05

Israel announced on Wednesday the launch of a program to force nearly 40,000 irregular migrants to choose between deportation and incarceration.

Speaking at the beginning of a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the implementation of the project "to remove migrants who have entered illegally". They have until the end of March to leave Israel, otherwise they will be imprisoned for an indefinite period.

According to figures from the Ministry of the Interior, 38,000 people are affected, the majority of whom are Eritreans and Sudanese. Migrants who agree to leave will be given a plane ticket and the equivalent of $ 4500 CAD.

Tens Of Thousands of Migrants Threatened With Expulsion From Israel

Israel announced on Wednesday the launch of a program to force nearly 40,000 irregular migrants to choose between deportation and incarceration.

Speaking at the beginning of a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the implementation of the project "to remove migrants who have entered illegally". They have until the end of March to leave Israel, otherwise they will be imprisoned for an indefinite period.

According to figures from the Ministry of the Interior, 38,000 people are affected, the majority of whom are Eritreans and Sudanese. Migrants who agree to leave will be given a plane ticket and the equivalent of $ 4500 CAD.

As part of its deportation program, the Israeli government tacitly recognizes that nationals of these two countries cannot return home.

The Eritrean regime has been accused by the UN of "widespread and systematic" crimes against humanity. As for Sudan, its president Omar al-Bashir is subject to arrest warrants of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Leave or go to jail

According to Israeli NGOs supporting migrants, Israel has signed agreements with third countries, in this case Rwanda and Uganda, which must accommodate voluntary migrants.

Most of these migrants entered Israel illegally via Egyptian Sinai as of 2007. This flow was halted with Israel’s construction of an electronic fence along the border with Egypt.

In a separate statement, Homeland Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who is charged with implementing the program, said Israel was "determined to send back tens of thousands of illegal migrants." According to official figures, 4,012 irregular migrants have already left Israel in 2017, including 3,332 from sub-Saharan Africa.

Benjamin Netanyahu visited South Tel Aviv in late August last year, home to thousands of African migrants, and pledged to "return" the area to "Israeli citizens."

UNHCR worried about Israeli measures

In November, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed its concern over the Israeli government's measures, recalling in particular that Israel had "legal obligations with regard to the protection of refugees".

But since the Israeli authorities took responsibility in 2009 to determine who falls into this category, only eight Eritreans and two Sudanese got the status, UNHCR said. 200 Sudanese nationals from Darfur have obtained a "humanitarian status in Israel," he said.

Adapted from: http://www.ledevoir.com/international/actualites-internationales/516672/israel-lance-un-programme-d-expulsion-de-dizaines-de-milliers-de-migrants

Distributed by PAJU (Palestinian and Jewish Unity)

www.pajumontreal.org

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