Alex Hamasaki, Student Intern
Last Modified: 01:10 a.m. DST, 26 June 2013
Over the past eight years, thousands of African migrants, mostly from Eritrea or Sudan, have entered Israel through Egypt. Some of these migrants were fleeing repressive regimes or seeking job opportunities.
Israel has attempted to stop the influx of migrants by building a fence on the Israeli-Egyptian border. Additionally, since last summer, Israel has been imprisoning new arrivals in order to determine if they meet the criteria for refugee status. Israel also offered cash to migrants if they would leave the country voluntarily.
The Washington Post and the Associated Press allude that many Israelis feel some sort of “natural responsibility” toward the migrants from Africa because of the Holocaust. However, other Israelis worry that Israel’s Jewish character will be threatened with the arrival of the migrants.
Fears for the migrants safety from mistreatment in the third country sparked criticism toward Israel’s plan.
Israel has yet to announce the details of the plan and the country they plan to send the migrants to. According to the Washington Post, court documents show that Israel has an agreement with one country to take on some migrants, and is currently in talks with two others. It is not known what these countries would receive in return.
Under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, states cannot send refugees to countries where they will face physical or political danger reports the Associated Press. It is unclear if Israel will be monitoring the well being of the migrants when in another country.