Migrants stuck in limbo on Egypt-Israel border

IDF troops standing guard over group of African migrants who are not permitted to enter Israel but refuse to return to Egypt.

Border between Israel, Egypt along Road 12   (photo credit: REUTERS)
Border between Israel, Egypt along Road 12
(photo credit: REUTERS)
IDF troops have been standing guard on the Egypt-Israel border over a group of around 20 African migrants – including a pregnant woman – for the past five days.
The migrants are stuck in a sort of limbo, on the wrong side of the border fence, but within the territory of the State of Israel, yet being kept from entering the country by the soldiers. At the same time they are refusing to be sent back to Egypt.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office said Tuesday that “in the area in question the border has been completed recently in order to stop unapproved entry to Israel.
On the Western side of the border, turning towards Egypt, is a group of foreigners whose entry to Israel is being prevented by the fence. Due to humanitarian concerns the IDF is giving them water.”
In early August, it was reported that a group of African migrants became stuck in a culvert under the Egyptian-Israel border and were being guarded by IDF troops. The IDF Spokesman’s Office said at the time that “in light of the foreigners’ condition, humanitarian concerns and the unique aspects of the situation, the decision was taken to make an exception and bring them to the Israeli side of the fence.”
Also in August, a group of Israeli NGOs released a report that stated that IDF soldiers are patrolling hundreds of meters within Egyptian territory in order to detain asylum seekers before they reach Israel and turn them over to Egyptian authorities.
According to official government figures, the nearly complete border fence has significantly cut down on the amount of illegal migrants crossing into Israel.
The Population, Immigration and Border Authority announced this week that over the course of the month of August only 200 illegal migrants entered Israel, as opposed to 2,000 in August 2011.