Classifieds | Archives | Jobs | About TGT | Contact | Subscribe
 | 
Last updated 0 minute ago
Printer Friendly Version | TGT@Twitter | RSS Feed |
HOME LOCAL MIDEAST ASIA WORLD BUSINESS SPORT OPINION WRITERS
Israel offers to pay migrants to leave, threatens jail
January 04, 2018
 Print    Send to Friend

TEL AVIV: Israel said on Wednesday it would pay thousands of African migrants living illegally in the country to leave, threatening them with jail if they are caught after the end of March.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in public remarks at a cabinet meeting on the payment programme, said a barrier Israel completed in 2013 along its border with Egypt had effectively cut off a stream of “illegal infiltrators” from Africa after some 60,000 crossed the desert frontier.

The vast majority came from Eritrea and Sudan and many said they fled war and persecution as well as economic hardship, but Israel treats them as economic migrants.

The plan launched this week offers African migrants a $3,500 payment from the Israeli government and a free air ticket to return home or go to “third countries,” which rights groups identified as Rwanda and Uganda.

“We have expelled about 20,000 and now the mission is to get the rest out,” Netanyahu said.

An immigration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there are some 38,000 migrants living illegally in Israel, and some 1,420 are being held in two detention centres.

“Beyond the end of March, those who leave voluntarily will receive a significantly smaller payment that will shrink even more with time, and enforcement measures will begin,” the official said, referring to incarceration.

Teklit Michael, a 29-asylum seeker from Eritrea living in Tel Aviv, said in response to the Israeli plan that paying money to other governments to take in Africans was akin to “human trafficking and smuggling.” “We don’t know what is waiting for us (in Rwanda and Uganda),” he said by telephone. “They prefer now to stay in prison (in Israel) instead.”

In his remarks, Netanyahu cited the large presence of African migrants in Tel Aviv’s poorer neighbourhoods, where he said “veteran residents” — a reference to Israelis — no longer feel safe.

“So today, we are keeping our promise to restore calm, a sense of personal security and law and order to the residents of south Tel Aviv and those in many other neighbourhoods,” he said.

Some have lived for years in Israel and work in low-paying jobs that many Israelis shun.

Israel has granted asylum to fewer than one per cent of those who have applied and has a years-long backlog of applicants.

Reuters
 

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Comments
 
Post a comment
 
Name:
Country:
City:
Email:
Comment:
 
    
    
Related Stories
American student refused entry into Israel moves SC
TEL AVIV: A US student barred from Israel over past support for a pro-Palestinian boycott campaign appeared before Tel Aviv’s top court on Wednesday in a final appeal aga..
US student barred by Israel appeals to its top court
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: A US student barred from Israel under a law against pro-Palestinian boycotters filed an appeal on Sunday with its top court, which suspended her depor..
US student challenges Israeli entry ban in court
TEL AVIV: A US student banned from entering Israel for allegedly having supported a pro-Palestinian boycott of the country appeared in court on Thursday to challenge the ..
Jewish-Arab wedding stirs mixed feelings
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: A surprise celebrity wedding bridging Israel’s Jewish-Muslim divide drew mixed public reaction on Thursday in a country where such inter-marriage is e..
Israel detains US student at airport
TEL AVIV: In a first-of-its-kind case, Israel has held an American graduate student at its international airport for a whole week, accusing her of supporting a Palestinia..
FRONTPAGE
 
GALLERY
 
PANORAMA
 
TIME OUT
 
SPORT
 
 
Advertise | Copyright