Israel scraps deportation of all African asylum seekers

Asylum seekers protesting at the Holot detention center in the southern Negev Desert of Israel, Feb 17, 2014. (photo: Ilia Yefimovich / Getty Images)

In a dramatic turnaround, Israel tells the High Court there is “no possibility” to expel migrants at this time.

By Tamar Pileggi | The Times of Israel | Apr 24, 2018


Israel has struggled with what to do with those already in the country, alternating between plans to jail and deport them and allowing them to work in menial jobs.


The Israeli government informed the High Court of Justice Tuesday it had scrapped its controversial plan to deport tens of thousands of African migrants from the country, after Israeli authorities failed to cement an emigration deal with a third country.

“At this stage there is no possibility of implementing involuntary deportations to a third country. Therefore, as of April 17, 2018, [the state] has ceased to hold hearings as part of the deportation policy, and no more deportation decisions will be made at this time,” the state said.

The admission marked a dramatic setback for the government in its years-long attempts to expel the asylum-seekers, most of them from Eritrea or Sudan, and a triumph for activists who appealed to the court against the government plans.

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Israel is betraying its history by expelling African asylum-seekers

asylum seeker
African migrants demonstrating outside the Rwandan embassy in Herzliya, Israel on Jan 22. (Jack Guez / AFP via Getty Images)

Israel intends to tell Eritrean and Sudanese refugees that they can either accept deportation or go to prison until they change their minds.

By Gershom Gorenberg | The Washington Post | Jan 29, 2018


Netanyahu isn’t bashful. . . . For him and his allies, the world sinned against Jews, and Israel’s obligation stops at giving refuge to Jews.


“I don’t have a visa,” Emanuel Yemani told me.

He spoke in Hebrew on the phone. After his third prison term for political offenses, Yemani had fled from Eritrea, traveling north through Sudan and Egypt. He crossed the Sinai Peninsula — the same ancient route used by Hebrew slaves delivered from Egypt — and entered Israel ten years ago.

It has been enough time for him to learn the language — but not enough to gain a firm legal status. Like nearly 40,000 other refugees from Eritrea and Sudan in Israel, Yemani has lived on a short-term visa that he must renew every couple of months at the Interior Ministry. The last time he did so, he brought a document that had been requested. The ministry official refused to take it, and Yemani recounted the exchange:

“No need,” said the official. “Soon we’ll deport all of you, and you’ll sit under a tree, open your mouth and wait for a banana to fall, like a monkey.”

“But I’m a human being, not a monkey,” Yemani answered.

“Don’t you see yourselves, that you look like monkeys?” the official answered.

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