Illegal immigrants in Tel Aviv
Illegal immigrants in Tel AvivIsrael News photo: Flash 90

The state told the High Court Sunday that Israel had made arrangements with another country to accept refugees from Eritrea who request political asylum. As such, the State said, Israel would be able to repatriate Eritrean illegals already in Israel to the so-far unnamed third country, and prevent new refugees from entering the country.

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.

In addition to the new arrangement, a representative of the Immigration Authority told the court, Israel was working on similar arrangements with two other countries. Those negotiations are ongoing, she said, without naming those countries either.

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, and must be granted asylum. Israel considers most illegal aliens from Eritrea and Sudan in Israel to be economic refugees, who are seeking jobs, and who can be repatriated. The new arrangement ensures that those infiltrators who truly are in danger because of their political views are able to find a place to go, the Authority said, while ensuring that Israel is able to find a solution for the many illegals who have flooded the country in recent years.

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.