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Israel Cancels Plan To Deport Africans
03 April 2018, 04:19 | Damon Campbell
Israel says it has reached deal to resettle African migrants in the West
Israel said on Monday it has canceled a plan to deport African migrants to Africa and reached an agreement with the United Nations refugee agency to send more than 16,000 to Western countries instead.
Netanyahu had been under pressure from conservative groups to expel the African migrants who are predominantly Christians and Muslims, because of fears they could undermine the Jewish character of the country of six million.
They had initially been given a deadline of April 1, but Israel's supreme court suspended the plan on March 15 while it continued to examine it.
"It's a good agreement, very glad that we achieved it", Israel's President Benjamin Netanyahu said during a televised press conference Monday. Later, the prime minister identified these countries as Germany, Canada and Italy. From 2005 until 2012 about 60,000 surreptitiously crossed into Israel over the once-porus border with Egypt, majority Sudanese or Eritreans who, under global conventions, could not be sent back to their home countries, where they could face persecution.
A group of residents of southern Tel Aviv, where numerous migrants have settled, immediately denounced the new plan in a statement, calling it "a shame for the state of Israel".
But many human right groups had protested the plan because they believed the migrants, mostly from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan would have been killed if they returned to Africa.
The original decision that was reached in January was to offer the migrants a cash lump-sum and a plane ticket to leave Israel voluntarily or otherwise face forced expulsion.
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