Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked officials of the Jewish State to determine whether the forcible deportation of thousands of African migrants is possible. According to a report in Haaretz, Netanyahu called on Israel’s national security adviser, Meir Ben Shabbat, to examine forced expulsion even while the cabinet was deciding whether to offer either indefinite incarceration or deportation and a cash payment to 40,000 people.
Because of concerns about cost and available prison space that would arise from the existing plan, Netanyahu asked about forcibly expelling the illegal immigrants. His proposal will most certainly wind up in Israeli courts.
Details were disclosed on Tuesday of a scheme that would commence in April, which would seek to persuade migrants to depart by menacing them with the stick of imprisonment but also offering the carrot of $3,500 in cash plus deportation. Many of the migrants are from Sudan or Eritrea, having entered Israel illegally from Egypt since 2010. Israeli has since bolstered border security. Many migrants settled in poor neighbourhoods of south Tel Aviv. Local Israeli citizens have continuously complained, prompting action by Netanyahu.
Speaking to his cabinet, Netanyahu said the “mission” was “to deport the illegal infiltrators who entered Israel prior to the construction of the new barrier with Egypt.” He added, “Today the cabinet will approve the plan for deporting the infiltrators from Israel. We will step up enforcement and we will allocate budgets and personnel to implement the plan. I think that it is important that people understand that we are doing something here that is completely legal and completely essential.”
Netanyahu went on to say, “The infiltrators have a clear choice – cooperate with us and leave voluntarily, respectably, humanely and legally, or we will have to use other tools at our disposal, which are also according to law.”
A letter circulated by Amnesty International and other human rights groups demanded an end to the deportations. “Anyone who has a heart must oppose the expulsion of the refugees,” the letter says.
Following cabinet meeting about the African migrants, Israel’s parliament gave initial approval to legislation to make sentencings “terrorists” to death. The bill requires three more votes to become law. The death penalty is allowed under Israeli law, but has not been applied since the hanging of Nazi Adolf Eichmann in the early 1960s.