Eritrean ambassador: Infiltrators can be deported

Tesfamariam Tekeste denies allegations by human rights groups Eritreans returning to country from Israel would be killed.

South Sudanese in Tel Aviv 390 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
South Sudanese in Tel Aviv 390
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Eritrea's ambassador to Israel Tesfamariam Tekeste on Thursday denied allegations that his country would kill illegal infiltrators were Israel to deport them back to Eritrea.
Nonprofit organizations working with the African migrant community have contended that Israel could not legally deport thousands of African refugees, asylum seekers and infiltrators as long as it is still party to an international convention on refugee rights.
Speaking to Israel Radio, Tekeste said that there is no truth to allegations made by human rights organizations that his country shoots citizens who try to dodge military service, which is mandatory in Eritrea for up to 20 years.
On Wednesday, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein informed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he believes Israel can legally begin to detain and deport infiltrators from Sudan.
Later Wednesday, protesters gathered across the country to protest the growing influx of African infiltrators in Israel. Over 1,000 people attended the demonstration in Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood, holding signs calling for the deportation of the migrants, one of which read “Bibi [Netanyahu] decide – Sudan or Israel.” Similar demonstrations were held in Eilat, Bnei Brak, Sderot, Ashdod and Ashkelon.
Police arrested a total of 17 people during the protest for rioting, attempted assault, possession of knives and looting store fronts.