African migrant walks with suitcase in south Tel Aviv 370 (R.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner )
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on late Monday night wrote to the High Court
of Justice claiming that the Law to Prevent Infiltration and the state’s policy
of placing certain African migrants in detention centers en masse for three
years without a hearing does not violate their fundamental rights or
The response by the state was required by a
conditional order by the court issued on March 12 in which it demanded that the
state defend the controversial law.
In the his response, Weinstein asked
the court to dismiss the petition underlying the case filed against the state by
six migrants’ rights organizations, including the Association of Civil Rights
for Israel, and on behalf of five Eritrean asylum seekers, including a child,
Israel is holding indefinitely in detention camps.
The state argued that
the harm to the rights and freedoms of the migrants was for an appropriate
purpose, consistent with the values of the state to maintain it as both Jewish
and democratic, and was proportional, and not overly draconian.
response claimed that the detention conditions strike a balance between
respecting the migrants’ rights, including with oversight of complaints and
abuses, and addressing the complex issue thrust upon the state by the almost
sudden explosion of thousands of migrants illegally crossing the border each
month in recent years.
The response also elaborates on the harmful impact
of illegal immigration on state security and national economic
Aside from the negative picture created by placing large
numbers of Africans and their children in detention cells, the policy has also
been controversial as most of the migrants claim they are unable to return to
their country of origin for fear for their lives. If true, this could grant them
the right to stay in Israel under international law.
The state attacked
these interpretations of international law as unjustifiably transforming
non-binding rules into binding ones and ignoring Israel’s unique problems,
including a lack of cooperation from its neighbors in securing its borders.