DAMASCUS, SYRIA (04:30 PM) – The Israeli regime intends to expel at least 38,000 African immigrants and refugees from the country, in a deportation campaign of unseen scale.
The thousands of Africans living within the borders of Israel, most of whom are from Eritrean or Sudanese background, will be given a plane ticket and a sum of $3,500 by Tel Aviv, after which they are given a March deadline by which to have left, AFP reported on Wednesday.
Starting March, the payments will be decreased gradually. From April on out, any African immigrants deemed to be residing illegally will be arrested and imprisoned.
“Every country must maintain its borders, and protecting the borders from illegal infiltration is both a right and a basic duty of a sovereign state,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday.
Reports amongst Israeli human rights activists indicate that Tel Aviv has reached agreements with Uganda and Rwanda that would see these nations take the bulk of expelled citizens who cannot return to Sudan or Eritrea out of fear of conflict or persecution. This agreement has drawn sharp criticism from many groups for its alleged racist connotation that purely because these nations are in Africa, this would suffice for Eritrean and Sudanese deportees.
Israel is notorious for its harsh treatment of African immigrants and even citizens of African descent. Local human rights groups have condemned these policies, stating that a country that was founded by Jewish immigrants should be more welcoming of immigration.
“The entire world is dealing with millions of refugees. It’s baseless for Israel, a developed country, to claim that it cannot take its part in carrying the burden,” Dror Sadot, spokesperson for the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, said.
Israel has a policy of automatic asylum granting to any and all Jewish immigrants, which has allowed many Ethiopian Jews to make a home in the area. However, since most of the Eritrean and Sudanese are not Jewish, they are denied the same rights as Israeli citizens in terms of healthcare and education. Even their children born in Israel are denied passports and are forced to attend ethnically separated preschools. Last May, Israel required that 20% of asylum seekers’ salaries be deposited into a fund that would only be released to them only if they relocate.