The Jerusalem District Court on Thursday rejected a petition by human rights groups to bar the expulsion of South Sudanese migrants.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai responded to the ruling, saying that he hopes this is the first step in the expulsion of the entire migrant population.

The Jerusalem District Court on March 29 issued an injunction barring their deportation of South Sudanese after receiving a petition from several NGOs arguing that the migrants who returned to their country would be in grave danger.

In its Thursday ruling, the court stated that the NGOs did not provide evidence that the South Sudanese would be in physical danger if they were returned to their home country.

"I praise the court decision that will pave the way for the expulsion of around 1,500 infiltrators from South Sudan," Yishai said. "I hope this is just the first of many steps that will allow us to expel the infiltrators from Eritrea and Sudan as well."

Yishai added that he is committed to the intermediary solution of building a tent-city to house the remaining infiltrators until the can be expelled "so that they will not remain in Israeli cities."

"This is not a war against infiltrators," Yishai said. "This is a war for the preservation of the Zionist and Jewish dream in the land of Israel."

An Interior Ministry spokeswoman, Sabine Haddad, said Thursday that there had been no round-ups of South Sudanese migrants yet, but that the 1,500-strong population would be processed for deportation "in the near future."

Another official said that Israel had assigned 11 clerks to vet any refugee claims, many of which could be complicated by some applicants' lack of documentation. The official predicted that processing of the South Sudanese would take several weeks.

On January 31, the Interior Ministry’s Population, Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA) said that following the establishment of South Sudan as an independent country last summer, citizens of that country who are in Israel as of April 1 will no longer be considered refugees and will face forced deportation.

Racial tensions in the economically downtrodden southern Tel Aviv neighborhoods have soared following violent demonstrations held by locals against the influx of migrants in the area.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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