Netanyahu of Israel Calls for Immediate Deportation of Eritrean Migrants Involved in Tel Aviv Violence

by Joshua Brown
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Netanyahu Eritrean migrants deportation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed on Sunday his intention to promptly deport Eritrean migrants who were participants in a violent confrontation in Tel Aviv. Additionally, he has instructed for the formulation of a strategy aimed at expelling all African migrants residing in Israel.

This statement was issued in the wake of violent altercations involving opposing factions of Eritreans in the southern part of Tel Aviv, resulting in multiple injuries. The protestors, both for and against the Eritrean government, clashed using building materials, metallic objects, and stones, causing damage to retail establishments and police vehicles. Israeli law enforcement, equipped with riot gear, responded with tear gas, stun grenades, and live ammunition, while mounted police sought to manage the crowd.

This episode of violence has reignited the enduring debate in Israel concerning migrants, an issue that has historically been a point of division. It comes at a time when the country is deeply split over Netanyahu’s plans to reform the judicial system. Proponents of the reform argue that the migrant situation serves as an illustration of why the judiciary needs to be restrained, contending that the courts have been an obstacle to deporting the migrants.

“In dealing with the aftermath of these violent incidents, severe action must be taken against the perpetrators, including their immediate expulsion,” said Netanyahu during a special cabinet meeting convened for this purpose. He asked ministers to propose strategies for the “expulsion of all other unauthorized entrants.” He also pointed out that some previous initiatives intended to induce migrants to leave were annulled by the Supreme Court.

Approximately 25,000 African migrants reside in Israel, predominantly from Sudan and Eritrea. These individuals assert that they have fled from conflict or oppressive regimes. However, Israel categorizes the vast majority as economic migrants and argues it is under no legal obligation to grant them asylum.

Various approaches have been employed by Israel to encourage these migrants to leave, ranging from detaining some in isolated facilities to withholding a portion of their income until they consent to leave, or offering monetary incentives to those willing to relocate to another African nation.

Opponents criticize the Israeli government for essentially pressuring the migrants to exit the country. According to international law, Israel is prohibited from forcibly repatriating migrants to countries where they may face threats to their life or freedom.

On Sunday, Netanyahu indicated that he did not anticipate legal obstacles in deporting those who are supportive of the Eritrean government.

Those advocating for the migrants contend that Israel, established in the aftermath of the Holocaust and populated by Jewish refugees, should extend asylum to those in need. Detractors argue that the migrant population has contributed to an uptick in crime, particularly in the economically disadvantaged neighborhoods of southern Tel Aviv where many have settled.

The recent conflict occurred as supporters of the Eritrean government commemorated the 30th anniversary of the incumbent leader’s ascendancy to power, an event that took place near the Eritrean embassy in southern Tel Aviv. Eritrea is notorious for its abysmal human rights record, and migrants both within Israel and globally express concerns of facing lethal consequences if repatriated.

Critics view Netanyahu’s judicial reform efforts as an attempt to dilute the power of the courts and reduce judicial scrutiny over governmental actions and laws. Conversely, supporters believe the reforms are designed to reallocate authority to elected officials and curtail what they consider to be an overly activist and liberal judiciary.

For more on global migration issues, visit AP’s comprehensive coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Netanyahu Eritrean migrants deportation

What prompted Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to call for the deportation of Eritrean migrants?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the immediate deportation of Eritrean migrants following a violent clash in southern Tel Aviv involving opposing groups of Eritreans. The violence left dozens injured and property damaged.

What measures has Israel previously taken to handle migrants?

Israel has employed various tactics to encourage African migrants to leave the country, including detaining some in remote facilities, withholding a portion of their wages until they agree to depart, and offering financial incentives for relocation to another African nation.

What is the current status of African migrants in Israel?

Approximately 25,000 African migrants currently reside in Israel, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea. Israel largely classifies these individuals as economic migrants and contends it has no legal obligation to provide them asylum.

What is the legal context surrounding forced deportation?

Under international law, Israel is prohibited from forcibly deporting migrants back to countries where their lives or liberties may be endangered.

How does this incident relate to Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul plans?

The incident has reignited the debate over migrants in Israel at a time when the country is also deeply divided over Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul plan. Supporters of the judicial reform use the migrant issue to argue for curtailing the powers of the judiciary, claiming that the courts have hindered efforts to deport migrants.

What are critics saying about Israel’s stance on migrants?

Critics accuse the Israeli government of coercing migrants to leave and point out that, as a nation founded by refugees and in the aftermath of the Holocaust, Israel should be more welcoming to those seeking asylum.

How did the violent clash in Tel Aviv occur?

The violent confrontation involved rival factions of Eritreans, both supporters and opponents of the Eritrean government. They clashed using construction lumber, metallic objects, and stones, resulting in multiple injuries and damage to properties.

What is the broader international context concerning Eritrean migrants?

Eritrea has a dismal human rights record, and Eritrean migrants, both in Israel and globally, express fears of facing serious consequences, including death, if they were to be forcibly returned to Eritrea.

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