Daily Israel Report
More

Zion's Corner Blogs


AG: Safe to Deport South Sudanese Nationals

The government's top lawyer says there is no reason to honor a petition seeking to block deportations of illegal aliens from S. Sudan
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 5/30/2012, 7:20 PM

Yehuda Weinstein
Yehuda Weinstein
Flash 90

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein on Wednesday told a Jerusalem court that South Sudan is safe enough for illegal immigrants to be repatriated.

Weinstein's testimony before the Jerusalem District Court was in response to a petition was filed by human rights organizations seeking to prevent the deportation of Sudanese migrants.

In his remarks, Weinstein cited a foreign ministry report on the economic and security conditions in South Sudan, and on the possibility of deporting migrants to the country.

According to Weinstein, the report concludes the situation in South Sudan does not provide grounds to fear for the lives and physical safety of illegal aliens facing deportation.

He also noted all asylum applications by South Sudanese citizens will be examined individually and considered on their merits within the context of relevant international conventions.

At least 1,000 South Sudanese are believed to be in Israel, comprising a fraction of illegal aliens from Africa that have inundated Israel in recent years.

Officials in Tel Aviv estimate there are as many as 100,000 illegal aliens from Africa in south Tel Aviv, making up 25% of the population in the neighborhoods they inhabit.

While some are refugees, most come seeking employment. Indigenous residents in Tel Aviv say they are responsible for rising violence in their neighborhoods.

Last week a rally attended by more than 1,000 protesters in Tel Aviv's Hatikva neighborhood was staged calling for Israel to enforce its immigration laws.

After the rally some protesters smashed windows, lit garbage cans on fire, and damaged a car that had three illegal aliens in it. No one was hurt in the incident.

Last Thursday police arrested 12 people on suspicion of attacking the vehicle, and running riot.

However, Witnesses say vast majority of those who attended the rally both arrived and departed peacefully. Another rally is planned for this week.

After the violence Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – who has described Israel's illegal immigration problem as a 'national catastrophe' – at once called for calm and promised deportations would begin soon.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu repeated his stance on illegal aliens in Israel, "My policy with regard to the illegal infiltrators seeking work is clear – first to stop their entry with the fence, while at the same time deporting the infiltrators who are in Israel."  

"We will begin by deporting the South Sudanese infiltrators dependent on the court's approval, which I hope we will receive over the next several days.  Later, we will continue with other groups," he said, adding his priority was the completion of the Sinai border fence.

"It is true that if we had not decided to erect the fence two years ago, then we would not be dealing with 60,000 illegal infiltrators; within several years we would be dealing with 600,000 – the problem would be magnified by a factor of ten," he said. "So first of all, we are stopping them, and although it is difficult and it is not a problem that can be solved overnight, we can deport them and we will."

Even Israel's left-wing politicians – who slammed nationalist lawmakers who spoke at the rally for 'incitement' and calls for deportation as 'racism' – have been forced to acknowledge the serious problem illegal immigration poses for Israel.

It is widely accepted that Israel, a small nation of some 8 million people – of whom 75% are Jewish – does not have the capacity to absorb large numbers of non-Jewish immigrants or refugees while at the same time ensuring the Jewish character of the state.

Weinstein's remarks – which comes as fighting has erupted over disputed land and mineral rights between Sudan and South Sudan – supported Netanyahu's vow to begin deportations.

The court decision in the case is still pending.