Netanyahu reverses migrant policy

After agreeing with the UN Commission for Human Rights to expel ca. 15,000 illegal African migrants to three Western countries (Germany, UK and Canada) and allow a further 15,000 to stay legally in Israel, PM Netanyahu reversed his agreement in 24 hrs.  When news of the agreement broke he was immediately attacked by the right wing of his own Likud party and was forced to back down by the residents of south Tel Aviv that has been overrun by tens of thousands of illegal Africans.  He had promised them that he would solve their problem by repatriating the migrants to a third country, but they would not accept this decision to allow about half of them to stay.  Also, the countries involved claimed that they had not been party to this agreement.  So whatever the agreement was, it is now defunct.

Currently Israel has no coherent policy to deal with the 30-50,000 illegal migrants in the country.  Some are certainly valid asylum seekers, but the vast majority are economic migrants who do not have a justifiable reason to be allowed to stay.  However, getting rid of them is difficult,  Repatriating most of them to their original countries has proved impossible.  Most come from Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya and Nigeria.  But, these countries don’t want to take them back.  A deal with Rwanda to take them worked for a while until it became public and Rwanda withdrew.

There are two views in Israel, the right say that these are illegal immigrants and should be removed.  The left argue that the Jews are a people of migration and should be sympathetic to the plight of these poor Africans.  But, this is mainly a religious argument, based largely on the Exodus narrative, the kind of argument that the left usually eschews.  However, the majority want them gone, much as the Americans don’t want all the Mexican and Spanish-speaking immigrants, and Britain doesn’t want all the Syrians and other Arabs.  Netanyahu must get real and finally deal with this problem.

 

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