Netanyahu completes about-face on migrants, says UNHCR deal is cancelled

“From time to time a decision is made that needs to be reconsidered.”

April 3, 2018 13:12
1 minute read.

UNHCR hopes Netanyahu gets support to implement agreement on refugees’ relocation, April 3, 2018 (Reuters)

UNHCR hopes Netanyahu gets support to implement agreement on refugees’ relocation, April 3, 2018 (Reuters)


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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu completed an about-face on Tuesday, announcing that he was cancelling the agreement he dramatically announced and advocated less than 24 hours before regarding the African migrants in Israel.

Netanyahu's announcement came at the beginning of a meeting in his office with residents of south Tel Aviv neighborhoods opposed to the policy which would allow some 16,000 of the African migrants to remain in the country, while another 16,000 would – under an agreement reached with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) – be absorbed by other western countries.

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Israel says to send 16,000 African migrants to Western countries, April 2, 2018 (Reuters)

“Every year I make thousands of decisions that benefit the State of Israel and the citizens of Israel,” he said. “From time to time a decision is made that needs to be reconsidered.”

Netanyahu said that in the past 24 hours he has consulted with Interior Minister Aryeh Deri – who spoke alongside him on Monday in the Prime Minister's Office announcing the now cancelled framework – as well as with professionals dealing with the issue and representatives of the residents of south Tel Aviv, where many of the migrants live.

After listening to the many reservations about the agreement, and evaluating anew the pluses and minuses, Netanyahu said he decided to cancel the agreement. Late Monday night he wrote on his Facebook page that he was postponing implementation of the deal.

Netanyahu said that despite “growing legal and international difficulties, we will continue to act with determination to exhaust all the possibilities available to us to remove the infiltrators, and at the same time we will continue to look for additional solutions.”

The one decision that he announced at his press conference on Monday that will remain, he said, is the decision to establish a rehabilitation administration for south Tel Aviv.

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