‘Refugee’ Suit Rejected, Eritreans Return to Egypt
The Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit from the Israeli NGO “We Are Refugees” (Anu Plitim) calling to require the state to allow dozens of Eritrean men into the country. The suit pertained to a group of would-be infiltrators who sat down near Israel’s border fence with Egypt and refused to move, demanding entry to Israel.
The group remained for several days in an attempt to pressure Israel into granting access. IDF soldiers gave the would-be entrants food and water.
State attorneys reported Sunday in court that most of the group had agreed to return to Egypt. Two women and one child were previously allowed to enter Israel for humanitarian reasons.
Justices determined that the change in circumstances made the suit irrelevant, and decided not to pursue the matter. We Are Refugees activists were told that if they have complaints regarding government behavior toward the men who were turned back, they must present those complaints to the proper authorities, and then bring the matter back to court only if there is a reason to do so.
Attorneys reiterated previous arguments that Israel has the right to prohibit foreign nationals from entering Israeli territory, and that it is not reasonable that the state be expected to grant access to any person who shows up at the border.
The Interior Ministry said, "There has been no determination by any international body according to which Sudanese or Eritrean citizens are persecuted in Egypt or that their lives are in danger. Therefore, there is no legal obligation to allow entry into Israel of those who are near the fence."