Classifieds | Archives | Jobs | About TGT | Contact | Subscribe
 | 
Last updated 6 hours, 39 minutes 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
Hamas leaders to meet amid Israel truce reports
GAZA CITY: The leadership of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas is to convene Friday for a rare meeting, officials said, amid speculation of a long-term truce between th..
Israel, Jordan kill Daesh militants on border
AMMAN: Israel and Jordan said on Thursday that their forces had killed Daesh militants who approached their borders after being squeezed out of southwestern Syria by the ..
Woman sentenced to jail over poems
TEL AVIV: An Israeli court on Tuesday sentenced an Arab woman to five months in prison for incitement to violence and support for a terrorist organisation in poems and ot..
Russia rebuffs Israeli demand to expel Iran
MOSCOW: Russia’s ambassador to Israel on Monday described as unrealistic Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s repeated demands that Iranian forces and their allies..
Israel shoots down Syrian warplane
ALEPPO: Israel shot down a Syrian fighter jet with surface-to-air missiles on Tuesday after the plane infiltrated airspace it controls, the military said, in a rare incid..
FRONTPAGE
 
GALLERY
 
PANORAMA
 
TIME OUT
 
SPORT
 
 
Advertise | Copyright