UNHCR URGES NETANYAHU TO RECONSIDER MIGRANTS AGREEMENT
Since 2005 a total of 64,000 Africans have entered Israel illegally over its border with Egypt.
APRIL 3, 2018
Crowds protest cancelling the UNHCR migrants deal outside the Ministry of Interior in Tel Aviv, April 3, 2018.. (photo credit: TAMARA ZIEVE)
The UNHCR called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reconsider the cancellation of the migrants deal signed by the Israeli government and the UNHCR on Monday.
“It is with disappointment that UNHCR notes today’s cancellation by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Israel-UNHCR Agreement of 2nd April on solutions for Eritreans and Sudanese currently in Israel,” the UN’s refugee agency said in a statement.
“The Agreement was the result of discussions over an extended period of time, and reflected a shared effort to find a solution that gave international protection to people arriving in Israel fleeing war or persecution while also meeting the concerns of Israeli host communities.”
Netanyahu posted a message on his Facebook page saying he was putting its implementation on hold until further review.
The UN agency noted that it sees the agreement as a “win-win” deal that would benefit both Israel and the asylum seekers.
“We encourage the government of Israel to consider the matter further, while standing ready to be of help,” the statement read.
The agreement allowed for some 16,000 African asylum seekers to be resettled in Western countries, while an additional 23,000 would be permitted to remain in Israel.
Implementing the signed agreement was expected to take five years.
Since 2005 a total of 64,000 Africans had entered Israel illegally over its border with Egypt, although thousands have since left. A fence Israel has built over the past few years along the frontier has largely stemmed the flow.
Reuters contributed to this report.