The state will soon begin deporting illegal Eritrean infiltrators to a third country, the state told the High Court Sunday. Israel has signed an agreement with this country to accept the illegals, who claim they cannot be deported to their home country for fear of being politically persecuted. However, said Hagai Hadas, the attorney representing the state at the hearing, Israel was not at liberty to divulge the name of the country.
Sunday's statement to the court came after a hearing last week, in which officials told the court that Israel was working on finding some place to send illegal Eritrean infiltrators to. The announcement came during a court discussion of petitions against laws that would imprison illegal immigrants for up to three years. The petitions were brought by organization working on behalf of rights for the illegals.
According to international law, individuals who claim political refugee status cannot be repatriated to their country of origin as long as the situation is deemed to be dangerous for them. Israel considers most immigrants from Eritrea and Sudan to be economic infiltrators who are seeking jobs, and who can be repatriated. The new arrangement ensures that those refugees who truly are in danger because of their political views are able to find a place to go, the Immigration Authority told the court last week, while ensuring that Israel is able to find a solution for the many illegals who have flooded the country in recent years.
Hadas presented depositions to the court which stated that Israel was negotiating with several African countries to accept the infiltrators. At least one country had currently made a deal with Israel on the matter. As such, Hadas said, police should be given the go-ahead to round up illegals and house them temporarily in camps set up for that purpose in the Negev.
Currently, Israel is holding some 2,000 illegals in prison, with most of them refusing to return to their countries of origin and claiming political asylum. The state has historically accepted very few such asylum requests. Estimates say that there are between 60,000 and 100,000 illegal African infiltrators in Israel, most of them living in South Tel Aviv.