J'lem, Juba talk of 'city' for returning S. Sudanese

City would be a massive resettlement facility meant to absorb returning African migrants, including non-Sudanese.

December 28, 2011 03:38
1 minute read.
Sudanese detained after crossing southern border

Sudanese detained after crossing southern border 311 (R). (photo credit: Yonathan Weitzman / Reuters)

Israel is in talks with the government of South Sudan to build a “city ” to help acclimate South Sudanese migrants who have returned from Israel, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

First reported in Calcalist, the city would be a massive resettlement facility meant to absorb returning African migrants, including those not originally from Sudan.

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The returning Africans would be given a one-time reacclimization stipend from the Israeli government, which currently grants each African returning to South Sudan a one-time payment of $500.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said Tuesday that Interior Minister Eli Yishai “will do all that he can to get them [African migrants] out of Israel, using every path possible through his office.”

He said that Israel and South Sudan have been carrying on negotiations for a long time and that Israel “has 52,000 infiltrators, we can’t go on like this.”

In regard to the city for infiltrators, he said that the two governments have discussed the project at length and Yishai is willing to use the ministry’s funds to advance it.

At the end of 2010, the Population, Immigration and Borders Authority released a report stating that the number of illegal African migrants in Israel is 33,273 as of November 2010. The majority of them are from Eritrea, while those hailing from South Sudan are estimated at around 3,000.

Tuesday’s report in Calcalist came less than a week after South Sudan President Salva Kiir was in Jerusalem to meet with Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The two spoke at length about the migrant issue, as well as the strengthening of military and diplomatic ties between Jerusalem and Juba.

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