International Middle East Media Center
Monday, June 04, 2012
In an emergency meeting on Sunday afternoon, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued instructions to begin the deportation of illegal African migrants to countries which Israel has diplomatic relations with, which account for 25,000 out of 60,000 African migrants in Israel.
Citizens of Ghana, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Ivory Coast will be deported immediately due to the diplomatic relations Israel has with these countries, which according to Israel means that it is not against international law to repatriate them.
The rest of the illegal migrants are citizens of countries that Israel does not have diplomatic relations with such as Sudan and Somalia or are considered dangerous such as Eritrea, as most migrants would be AWOL soldiers who would probably be harmed upon their return.
During the meeting on Sunday afternoon, Netanyahu ordered that the Saharonim lockup in the Negev should be expanded to accommodate all those migrants who cannot be repatriated. Building new camps for the migrants has also been suggested.
The Israeli foreign ministry has been working on the repatriation of African citizens and has made agreements with Ethiopia and South Sudan.
As for the Ivory Coast and Ghana, Haartez news reported that an Israeli senior in the foreign ministry said that they will deport these nationals by force if the governments do not cooperate.
Israel seeks to maintain a Jewish majority and therefore immigration is a controversial issue in the country.