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Israeli plan to offload Eritreans: An affront to international law

Israel’s supposed plan to send tens of thousands of Eritrean asylum seekers to an unspecified African country raises enormous humanitarian, human rights and political concerns.

The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees recognizes that:

…the grant of asylum may place unduly heavy burdens on certain countries, and that a satisfactory solution of a problem of which the United Nations has recognized the international scope and nature cannot therefore be achieved without international co-operation…

This is another way of saying that countries bordering conflict zones – often poor and unstable themselves – tend to endure the primary burden of protecting refugees. (Kenya, for example, is presently home to more than half a million refugees.) The resulting concept of “burden sharing” has since become a critical principle of international refugee law.

It is widely accepted that resettlement is meant to function as a mechanism for burden sharing – not, as in what Israel proposes, for rich countries to offload onto poor ones.

Moreover, the resettlement of refugees must ensure the receiving country will go far to actively protect the rights of those being resettled and refrain at all costs from deporting them. From UNHCR:

The status provided by the resettlement State ensures protection against refoulement and provides a resettled refugee and his/her family or dependants with access to civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights similar to those enjoyed by nationals. Resettlement also carries with it the opportunity to eventually become a naturalized citizen of the resettlement country.

As for Israel’s stated expectation that it will reject 100 percent of asylum applications filed by Eritreans: I’m curious to know how it will square that with the rest of the world’s recognition that Eritreans are likely to face torture or execution upon deportation home, rendering many of them eligible for refugee status. The same article to which I linked above notes that 74 percent of Eritrean asylum seekers worldwide were recognized as refugees in 2011.

Let’s hope Israel is bluffing. (At the end of this Haaretz report, Or Kashti provides a helpful roundup of all the other times the state has made bogus claims about paying a country to take its refugee population.) But the intention itself is disturbing. We know that Israeli policy is often driven by its demographic interests, which take precedence over human rights and other universal principles. This plan, however, would constitute a particularly egregious declaration that Israel exempts itself from the obligations that come with being a member of the world.

Related:
Myths, facts and suggestions: Asylum seekers in Israel

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Kanadi

      If they are not refugees under the legal definition, then Israel should have no issue sending them to Eritrea. Finding a 3rd state is a de facto admission that they are in fact refugees. I recently spoke with an Eritrean man in Canada who has a nephew in Israel. He wants more than anything to sponsor him to come to Canada, but he can’t since Israel refuses to recognize him as a refugee. This is the lunacy – Israel wants him out, his family in Canada wants him to come to Canada, but since acknowledging that he is a refugee would be a tacit admission that Israel is blatantly violating international refugee law (which, by the way, it was instrumental in drafting back when many of the world’s displaced people were Jews), he remains a hopeless, status-less, traumatized soul in the state of Limbo…I mean Israel.

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    2. Joel

      An ‘affront’ means what? That Israel’s actions are legal but repugnant to you?

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      • Kanadi

        Israel’s actions are in fact not legal. The world over the vast majority of Eritreans are granted refugee status. Israel is signatory to both the 1951 and 1967 refugee laws, which means that anyone who crosses the border and presents themselves to the authorities in good faith as an asylum seeker has a right to a refugee status determination process, with status and rights granted in the meantime. Arbitrary detention is not allowed under the law. Israel’s actions are therefore and affront to the law. There are many people in Israel “illegally”, but the Eritreans are asylum seekers by law, having followed all the proper protocol under the international refugee convention, and deserve to be treated as such.

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        • The Trespasser

          > Israel is signatory to both the 1951 and 1967 refugee laws, which means that anyone who crosses the border and presents themselves to the authorities in good faith as an asylum seeker has a right to a refugee status determination process, with status and rights granted in the meantime. Arbitrary detention is not allowed under the law. Israel’s actions are therefore and affront to the law.

          Bullshit.

          “The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened …” Article 31, (1)

          They did not enter “directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened”, which means that they can be subjected to penalties on account of their illegal entry.

          >…but the Eritreans are asylum seekers by law

          More bullshit.

          Eritreans are defined as “temporary humanitarian protection group”, which is not quite the same as “asylum seekers”

          They are not afraid “…of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion” nor are they “compelled to leave his/her country owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order in either part or the whole of his country of origin or nationality” neither are they “persons who flee their countries because their lives, safety or freedom have been threatened by generalised violence, foreign aggression, internal conflicts, massive violation of human rights or other circumstances which have seriously disturbed public order.”

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          • Adam Dayton

            The guy above me is certainly correct. Article 31 allows Israel to impose penalties. The migrants were not at threat in Egypt as per the requirements of Article 1.

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          • Ben Zakkai

            I suppose by “at threat” you mean “threatened” or “at risk.” English is a difficult language, dear boy, but try to read a bit more before you embarrass yourself again through your ignorance:

            Amnesty International, Egypt, Sudan: Kidnap and trafficking of refugees and asylum-seekers must be stopped, 03.04.13; BBC News, Sinai torture for Eritreans kidnapped by traffickers, 6.3.13; Human Rights Watch, Egypt: Don’t Deport Eritreans, 15.11.11; Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Eritrean refugees threatened with imminent deportation from Egypt, 21.10.11; Al Masry Al Youm, Egyptian police shoot Eritrean migrant near Israeli border, 7.7.11; Jerusalem Post (AP), Egyptian border police shoot dead Eritrean migrant, 17.1.11; Ynet (Reuters), Egypt police kill Eritrean woman at Israeli border, 29.6.10; Gatestone Institute, Egyptian Border Police Shoot African Migrant, 30.6.09; International Federation for Human Rights, Egypt: Eritrean migrant killed at the Israeli Border, 17.10.08; Haaretz, Egyptian police shoot Eritrean trying to cross border into Israel, 10.11.07.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kanadi

            Actually not bullshit, says the UNHCR: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3268.html

            “The responsibility of a State under the 1951 Convention is engaged whenever that State is presented with a request for asylum involving a claim of refugee status by a person either at its borders or within its territory or jurisdiction. In all such cases, States parties are required, inter alia, to observe the principle of non-refoulement. The fact that a refugee has found or could have found protection elsewhere does not remove the obligation of other States to respect the principle of non-refoulement, even though it may be agreed that the primary responsibility for providing international protection.”

            What Israel defines them as (infiltrators, also under group protection) and what they deserved to be defined as under international refugee law are obviously not one and the same here. Perhaps you’re not familiar with the situation in Eritrea, but the repression is on par with North Korea, and in fact it’s the only country to receive a lower score than North Korea from Journalists without borders. People fleeing from the country (also many of whom have been kidnapped from refugee camps in Ethiopia, sold into smuggling/extortion rings, and dumped into Israel), absolutely deserve to fall under the category of “persons who flee their countries because their lives, safety or freedom have been threatened by generalised violence, foreign aggression, internal conflicts, massive violation of human rights or other circumstances which have seriously disturbed public order.” Massive violations of human rights – interesting that Israel is one of few countries in the world who have normal relations with it.

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          • Adam Dayton

            I suggest that you take the time to read Article 1. Widespread oppression of an entire population is certainly not grounds for claiming asylum under the convention.

            Your quote beginning with “persons who flee their countries because their lives, safety or freedom have been threatened by generalised violence…” is not from the refugee convention. It’s from the Cartagena Declaration. Israel is not party to this declaration, and therefore, without evidence on your part demonstrating opinio juris and state practice on Israel’s part, there are no grounds for you to conclude that it is binding upon Israel.

            So while you are correct that those from Eritrea would fall under this category, you have provided no evidence that Israel is bound to any such customary rule of international law.

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          • Kanadi

            I know article 1. A refugee is “A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”. The young men I speak to who have come to Israel leave Eritrea because they have been raped or tortured in the course of their induction into the military, face persecution due to their religious affiliation (especially certain types of protestant Christians), or have fled so as not to face a fate of being conscripted against their will into brutal military service which is unpaid and indefinite. There is no recourse to the rule of law in this dictatorship, and anyone who steps even remotely out of line (the jails are overflowing with strictly political prisoners) faces severe persecution. This clearly falls under the category of “political group” in article 1, and this is why refugee acceptance rates of Eritrean asylum seekers the world over is upwards of 80-98%. Or do you think other countries are just sold on a sob story? Like those sob stories of those poor persecuted Jews in the pogroms – had you not been Jewish you likely would have been one of those to pronounce “none is too many” and send the St. Louis back to Europe. I know that if Canada had a system in the 1920s like Israel has now, my family would likely have perished.

            So if you can’t stand black Christians in Israel, come out and say it. But don’t hide behind legalistic buffoonery.

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          • Joelto

            To begin with, half of all Eritreans are Christian. Secondly,a conscript is not a ‘political group’.
            Yes, 120 years ago Jews were conscripted into the Czarist army and held there for a disproportionate time BECAUSE they were Jews.

            ‘My family would have perished’.
            Right. And repatriated Eriteans are not facing a death sentence.

            Why do Eriteans living in Israel turn to crime sooner than Sudanese or other African migrants? Crime, I’ve witnessed with my own eyes. Why is that?

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          • Adam Dayton

            Kandi,

            Please provide me with opinio juris and state practice *as it pertains to Israel* that those wishing to avoid military service in a dictatorship constitute a political group. You can bend and twist the words any way you like. Hell, I might as well argue that rapists are a political group – they have a political disagreement with their government over its prohibition of rape. All of this is meaningless without evidence as demonstrated either by what the treaty actually meant to those framing it or opinio juris and state practice demonstrating adherence to a customary international law on Israel’s part.

            What virtually all the other countries in the world do besides Israel is hardly relevant. Virtually all the other countries in the world have abstained from possessing nuclear weapons. Israel hasn’t.

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          • Adam Dayton

            And even if we assume that those avoiding conscription are a political group, you cannot escape the issues raised by article 31, which prohibits punitive measures only when the asylum seekers have entered the land through another land in which they are at threat as per Article 1. Getting raped, beaten, robbed and extorted by Bedouins does not constitute an Article 1 threat. It’s absurd to believe that any damage one endures through knowingly engaging in a criminal activity would constitute an Article 1 threat. I will have to get the exact legal wording, but there are grounds to also hold that by engaging with these organized criminal groups, the migrants were also liable to lose any protection they had from the Egyptian government.

            Thus, as per Article 31 Israel is more than free to take punitive measures against those who have entered its territory, and this is the case regardless of whether or not conscripts constitute a “political group.”

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          • Ben Zakkai

            Ah, once again we enjoy the insights of that eloquent and learned expert in refugee matters, Trespasser. Well, at least you spelled “bullshit” correctly. But everything else you got wrong, as usual.

            Sugarplum, did you begin to read the materials to which I directed your feeble attention during our discussion on the previous 972 piece on Eritreans? If you had — and if you were honest — you’d know and admit by now that Eritreans are generally considered political refugees by virtue of their draft evasion or desertion, their illegal exit from Eritrea and their having made an application for asylum. In addition, many are religious refugees by virtue of their membership in persecuted sects like Pentecostalism or Jehovah’s Witnesses.

            And again, even if the transit countries (generally Egypt and Sudan) were not dangerous to Eritreans — which of course they are, and if you like I will embarrass you by posting links to reliable articles and reports that anyone can find on Google in 2 minutes — their unauthorized entry into Israel must be forgiven once their asylum claims are established.

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          • Ben Zakkai

            dangerous to Eritreans (which they are), their illegal entry into Israel must be forgiven once their asylum claims are established. You do understand that refugees don’t have to obtain visas before they flee or enter a country?

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    3. rsgengland

      The header to this article refers to “International Law”.
      Where, pray tell, was this international law promulgated.
      Who enforces and polices this international law.
      The UN is not a law making body, and neither are any of its offshoots and agencies.
      It serves to try and achieve lofty aims and ideals by agreement, with a massive bureaucracy, that seldom seems to agree on anything substantive or controversial.
      The UN does not have an enforcement agency, or a judiciary, or penitentiary.
      Therefore “international law” is just what anyone wants it to be, fluctuating wildly between whatever fad seems to be current at the time.

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    4. Ben Zakkai

      Mr. Glands,

      Why do you comment when you know nothing? Kanadi (above) has been kind enough to direct your attention to the 1951 treaty and its 1967 protocol governing refugee rights. He’s even quoted from it at length. Courts in civilized countries enforce the provisions of those documents every day. None of that is dependent on the UN.

      As for the UN, its ability to make binding law and enforce it is limited but not non-existent. In a pinch, the UN can pass binding security council resolutions (or sometimes emergency general assembly resolutions) and even carry them out by the use of military force. Cf. Korea, Iraq.

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      • Adam Dayton

        Ben Zakkai

        You are correct, courts in civilized countries uphold these provisions, particularly article 31, which allows a country to take punitive measures against migrants when they enter from a country where they are not in danger **as per article 1.** All of your newspaper articles about Egypt are irrelevant. These are not threats under article 1. I suggest you take the time to read the convention.

        Your discussion of what all other countries in the world do is irrelevant. You must show that such norms apply to Israel through its opinio juris and state practice, or demonstrate using original source material that your interpretation of the treaties that Israel has signed bind in in the way you say they do.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben Zakkai

          Mr. Dayton, to your credit, you at least cite sources of law, which is more than many hasbaraniks here do; but to your shame, you twist law, facts and morality like a shyster criminal defense lawyer.

          There’s no international court to force Israel to abide by the refugee convention or any particular interpretation thereof. Shall we then throw the Eritreans into the sea?

          Human Rights Watch and Amnesty have condemned Egypt & Sudan, recently and repeatedly, for returning Eritreans to Eritrea, in violation of the non-refoulement principle. That means Israel can’t return or punish Eritreans who arrive from those countries, because they would be “threatened in the sense of Article 1.”

          Why are the US, UK, Canada Australia NZ etc. adopting generous standards and approving 85-95% of Eritrean asylum applications? Are they all stupid, while Israel is smart? Or is Israel, which cried and complained bitterly for 70+ years about the world’s failure to take in Europe’s Jews in the 30′s, now falling far short of the standards it demanded of others?

          If the Eritreans were Jewish, we’d let them in; but since they’re black, they’d have to clean toilets like the Ethiopians do. Oh, we are a Light unto the Nations!

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          • Ben Zakkai

            And if, Mr. Dayton, Eritreans in Egypt were not in danger of refoulement to Eritrea but were “only” being maimed, murdered and tortured by Egyptian police, kidnappers and organ traffickers, would you then support “legally” deporting Israel’s Eritreans to Egypt? Not that Egypt is willing to take them back, anyway …

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          • Ben Zakkai

            Gosh Mr. Dayton, I just spotted your facebook comment above saying that the threat of torture, alone, doesn’t make you a refugee. Well, duh! That’s why we have the Torture Convention, to which Israel is a party — to fill that gap. Legal considerations aside, do you favor Israel’s deporting Eritreans to places where they’ll be tortured? If you really do, you’re not much of a human being.

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          • Adam Dayton

            Sorry – Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International don’t create international law (or determine the meaning of Article 1). Treaties and Customary International Law do. Please see Article 38 of the ICJ Statute. You’re more then welcome to present such information. As I asked before, I would like to see original source documents when it comes to treaties or citations of such and/or opinio juris and state practice if you wish to argue that Israel has an obligation under customary international law.

            “Why are the US, UK, Canada Australia NZ etc. adopting generous standards and approving 85-95% of Eritrean asylum applications? Are they all stupid, while Israel is smart”

            They are doing what they are entitled to do as sovereign states and Israel is doing what it is entitled to do. Just because other countries do something doesn’t mean that Israel is legally obligated to do so.

            Your comparison to what the European Jews were experiencing and what those in Eritrea and Darfur are experiencing (as of today) is deeply offensive. I suggest you take a trip to Yad Vashem and learn a little bit about what Nazi Germany was like. Hell, maybe we should also allow teenagers into Israel who want to claim they are refugees because their parents grounded them for pot.

            While Israel may be under an obligation not to send people back to countries where they will be tortured without just cause, this does not mean that Israel is prohibited from deporting them to ANY other countries. Moreover, over 100,000 people have returned to Darfur. How many of those people have been killed/tortured? Unless you show me evidence of such atrocities committed against these people, then it is clear that Israel’s returning people to Darfur, if done in a way where their being in Israel is kept secret, cannot be said to violate the principle of non-refoulement. In providing me with the statistics on this matter. Anecdotal accounts from HRW or AI are irrelevant. One guy being tortured out of 100,000 is not relevant.

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          • Ben Zakkai

            I’m a child of Holocaust survivors (and non-survivors) and could give you lessons on the subject. I could also give you lessons on Eritrea, but you wouldn’t be interested, because non-Jewish life means little or nothing to you. That’s why you avoided answering my questions about what to do with the Eritreans.

            HRW and AI don’t waste time on mere anecdotes. I’m sure you complain when they criticize Israel and whine that they should focus on other countries. Well then, when they do, listen to them.

            Here are leading cases from tribunals in the UK, MO (illegal exit – risk on return) Eritrea CG [2011] UKUT 00190 (IAC), and Australia, 1103210 [2011] RRTA 382 (24 May 2011), at the following links:
            http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKUT/IAC/2011/00190_ukut_iac_2011_mo_eritrea_cg.html
            http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/RRTA/2011/382.html

            I’ll get you more if you want. Now you provide me with some cases going the other way.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Clarification: HRW/AI & other human rights groups do use anecdotes, or course, but they don’t waste time on isolated or unsubstantiated ones. They focus on trends and policies, as do the US State Dept, Canadian Immigration & Refugee Board and other bodies who report on what’s happening in Eritrea. Do a little more self-motivated searching and reading instead of always demanding that others provide you with sources. I can’t be wholly responsible for your education.

            What has been happening in Eritrea over the past decade does indeed compare to what happened in Germany in the 1930′s, when the world closed its doors to Jewish refugees. You find the comparison offensive because Jewish suffering means something to you, whereas Eritreans, well …

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          • Adam Dayton

            I saw nothing in your sources specifically supplying original source material from the founding of the treaties suggesting that military desertion is grounds for asylum, dealing with article 38 as it applies to Israel or dealing with matters related to jus cogens and opinio juris as it relates to Israel. I’m unsure why you gave me these links.

            Having a Holocaust survivor parent makes you as qualified to talk about the Holocaust as someone who has a brain surgeon as a father is to perform brain surgery. Nothing is comparable to what the Jews experienced in Germany. They were systematically targeted for oppression as a minority. You can’t compare that to a dictatorship where everyone is oppressed.

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          • Ben Zakkai

            Well, Mr. Dayton, you asked for customary international law, which is basically what nations do, and I cited a couple of powerful sources, which are only the tip of the iceberg — and you brush them aside, again throwing around Latin phrases to impress I don’t know who. And of course you yourself provide no sources, as I asked you to do.

            And when did you conclude that minorities (cf. Pentecostalists, Jehovah’s Witnesses) aren’t systematically persecuted in Eritrea? How can you in good conscience comment “authoritatively” on subject you know so little about? And if Eritreans (or North Koreans etc.) are generally horribly oppressed by their awful regimes, then how does that make their incarceration, torture and murder any less painful than what the Jews endured in the Holocaust? No, the Holocaust is not unique, it’s only one more horrible example of man’s inhumanity to man.

            Well, I see no point in replying to you further, on this thread at least — you’ll only parrot the same nonsense time after time.

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          • Adam Dayton

            You see no point in replying to me because you are out of your element. Your knowledge of international law is extremely limited. There is no other term for opinio juris, nor is there anything fancy about it. It’s a standard term in international law that everyone who is even remotely familiar with the subject know.

            What Australia does is irrelevant regarding Israel. I encourage you to read a book or two on international law before you speak about it.

            6 million Jews were systematically eradicated in the Holocaust. When things get that bad in Eritrea, then let’s talk.

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          • Ben Zakkai

            (groan) ok, I will reply. You’d like to assume (or for others to assume) that I know little about international law, or about the Holocaust, because then you don’t have to meet my legal or moral arguments frontally. Any idiot can throw around terms like opinio juris or jus cogens and even understand what they mean, f’crying out loud they’re even on Wikipedia. During our exhange, you’ve hammered on the same few points time and again, while studiously avoiding important questions that I have put to you, because (I assume) you have no good answers to them.

            I have never said that every Eritrean in Israel is entitled to refugee status. What I do maintain is that many of them are, according to black-letter international law; that they are entitled to have their claims heard in a legal forum; that while other countries’ interpretations and applications of refugee law do not strictly bind Israel, they are at least persuasive authority, particularly when there is an emerging consensus; that it would be immoral and in many cases illegal for Israel to return Eritreans to Eritrea or deport them to Egypt and Sudan; and that, incidentally, it is hypocritical to condemn the world for not receiving European Jews in the 1930s, while at the same time trying to throw Eritreans to the dogs.

            So, without much hope, I’ll ask you again for straight answers to basic questions: Why do you think so many countries award refugee status to the vast majority of Eritreans? (I’m sorry, but “that’s their prerogative” is not responsive.) What would you do with the Eritreans in Israel, and what is your legal and moral basis for doing so? Have you got the guts to respond, really respond?

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          • Matthew Mainen

            Yes, it being their prerogative is an adequate response. Even if they believe they are under a legal obligation to do so, it has no consequences for Israel. International law is checked by state sovereignty, and with the exception of jus cogens, adherence to proposed international norms are left up to the state. If Israel is under an obligation to grant asylum, this should be reflected in a proper interpretation of the treaty, backed with original source material such as notes from the conferences and/or evidence of state practice and opinion juris on the part of Israel.

            2. I would send the Eritreans to a third party country or imprison them indefinitely until they left, demanding that the UN and not the Israeli taxpayers finance their stay. I’d send the Sudanese back to Sudan as already, as of last year, 100,000 had returned home and probably more now. I don’t know what you mean by “moral” justification. Morality is subjective. You can’t scientifically prove to me that your morality is right and mine is wrong and vice versa, so there is no point in talking about morality. The legal basis for Israel’s sending them away is article 38 of the refugee convention, allowing punitive measures for those who enter a land from a territory in which they are not under threat in the sense of article 1.

            With respect to the broader picture – Israel is not the USA. It is not a state for all people and eternities. It was made quite clear since Day 1 that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people and not a melting pot. I suggest you look at Europe and see how well their disregarding their nations has worked for them. Look at Sweden for starters. Quite frankly, I really don’t give a damn that countries didn’t want to let Jews in during the Holocaust. If anyone wants to start throwing Nazi accusations around, we should start with those who wish to deny the Jews their right to self-determination by demanding they disregard the Jewishness of their state.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Welcome to the conversation, Mr. Mainen. Unfortunately, on my computer I can only see your first two paragraphs and a line of the third, so I’ll respond to that.

            I doubt we’ll agree, but I can at least identify the nub of our disagreement on two matters. The first is somewhat technical: I asked Mr. Dayton why he thought other first-world nations are generous regarding Eritrean refugee claims, and he replied, “That’s their prerogative.” Clearly that answer doesn’t explain anything about why other nations choose to do what they do. But it’s too small a point to belabor.

            The second point is much larger, huge in fact. I’ve spent my professional lifetime working in government, law and public policy, and I’ve heard many disagreements on many issues, but I’ve heard no one say that morality has nothing to do with our work. On the contrary, each person brings to the table his normative values and factual assumptions about how to balance and advance those values. True, morality is not scientifically discoverable, but it’s crucially important in making and enforcing laws. Claiming otherwise sounds, at best, like something from a late-night college dorm bull session, or, at worst, sociopathic.

            For Israel to detain Eritreans indefinitely (which is happening) is cruel, especially so because many of them are already deeply traumatized. Because it is cruel (here comes the link between morality and law), Western democratic nations do not permit indefinite detention of illegal immigrants who cannot be removed. And, of course, they also can’t be removed if their asylum claims are pending or approved.

            As for removal to a third country, well, if Canada (for instance) is willing to take Israel’s Eritreans, I could live with that. But if Israel bribes some African dictator with guns and money so he’ll take the Eritreans and exploit them, then no.

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          • Adam Dayton

            I agree with the other guy. It’s irrelevant why other nations do what they do. It matters what Israel does and what elements of international law it has bound itself to. How many times do I have to say it? If your implication that such countries are correct in their interpretations of the treaty is valid, then by all means, present me with some original source documents suggesting as much. Even if every country in the world does something, it doesn’t mean another country is bound to do the same just in virtue. There should be evidence, which you have not presented. All you have shown is that many countries do something Israel will not do. I never denied this is the case. What I have challenged you to do is provide any link whatsoever to these countries actions to Israel.

            And again, having come from Egypt, a country in which they were not under threat as per Article 1, the migrants have lost their right to immunity EVEN IF they are under an article 1 threat from Eritrea or Sudan. They’ve deliberately disrespected both international law and Israeli law. Israel can take punitive measures.
            I also agree that morality is worthless. Your morality is different than not only my morality, but that of the Israeli majority. So where can we go from here? Nowhere. I see no moral problems in not allowing them to stay in Israel. That’s my subjective opinion. Yours is equally subjective. The democratic thing to do is let the Israeli people decide, and they are clearly opposed to their continued presence.

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          • Ben Zakkai

            Once again I can’t see your whole comment, only the first paragraph and three lines of the second, so I’ll reply to that.

            1. I thought my implication was plain all along: Yes, if the consensus among civilized countries like UK, AU, US, CA and NZ — not to mention UNHCR and human rights orgs — is that the Eritreans’ plight generally merits asylum, then they’ve come to conclusions about the facts on the ground, and the moral and legal implications of those facts, which Israel should learn from rather than ignore. You disagree, if I understand you, on purely formalistic/legalistic grounds: Israel’s not bound by anything anyone else says or does, so Israel can jail Eritreans indefinitely, punish them for entering the country illegally, refuse to hear their claims for asylum, and deport them just about anywhere. Yikes.

            2. You think Eritreans face no danger of refoulement by Egypt, so Israel can and should return them to Egypt even if they face other grave dangers there. I disagree with you on both counts.

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          • Adam Dayton

            So then using your logic, if tomorrow all of these countries decide to start committing genocide against the asylum seekers, arguing that it is under a legal obligation to do so, Israel would be under an obligation to do so as well. I say that we look at the letter of the law, not what other countries are doing. Just because all countries are doing one thing doesn’t mean that they are correct about their interpretation of the law. We should look at the law for ourselves. From your sources, I saw nothing relevant to the matter of Article 38.

            The asylum seekers may be in danger in Egypt, but certainly not in the sense of Article 1.

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          • Ben Zakkai

            Your logic (not mine) is cramped and legalistic. I do respect the judgments of countries and organizations whose values and achievements I admire; I wouldn’t pay much attention to New Zealand law if it endorsed genocide.

            Again, I disagree with you about Article 1 danger in Egypt, but what bothers me more is your admitted willingness to send Eritreans to be kidnapped, tortured and murdered in Egypt if you can find a legal way to do it. Naval B’Rshut HaTora.

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          • Adam Dayton

            1) Please present your evidence supporting your assertion that if the Eritreans were returned to Egypt and DID NOT associate with the criminal elements that they associated with (The bedouins who raped them etc..), then they would be at threat for such treatment.

            2) Article 1 offers no protection to those who associate with criminal elements (and thereby commit crimes). I’ve seen no evidence to hold as such.

            3) My argument is legalistic. You’re right. I agreed with that other guy that we differ on morality, and as morality is subjective, I suggested we defer to the democratic will of the Israeli people.

            4) A lot of people with opposite views become complete assholes eventually. You haven’t. I want to think you for being a nice person to discuss these matters with, albeit from different positions.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Dude, you’re like a parrot with all your requests for more and more sources. I provided you with sources, you ignored them, and when I asked you for sources supporting your claims, you ignored that too. That’s a pretty lame tactic. If you had any balls or integrity, you’d provide the rest of us with some reputable sources showing us that Eritreans are safe in Egypt. Good luck. And to blame Eritreans for being kidnapped and abused by Bedouins, based on the ridiculous claim that all of said Eritreans are in cahoots with said Bedouins, is reprehensible.

            I don’t buy the (once again, overly formalistic) argument that anytime the majority supports an inhumane policy, that makes the policy OK. But if you’re really that big a fan of pure democracy, I eagerly await your support of full Israeli voting rights for all people ruled by Israel, including a few million Palestinians.

            Reply to Comment
          • Adam Dayton

            You have not provided me with a SINGLE SOURCE dealing with article 38. With respect to me providing sources, I am not under any obligation to provide sources to disprove unsourced claims made by you. You make the claim, you provide the sources.

            You’ve provided ZERO EVIDENCE that Eritreans are under an Article 1 threat in Egypt. Eritreans are to blame for being kidnapped and abused by Bedouins – they use the services of criminals to get into Israel and pay the consequences. Using your logic, if I use the services of a criminal so that I can break into your mom’s house and rape her, and the criminal ends up robbing me, you should somehow feel sorry for me. Those who are harmed while committing crimes aren’t worthy of sympathy.

            I’m not where you’re getting the idea that pure democracy means that Palestinians should have a vote in Israel. A country based on pure democratic principles is under no obligation to give a vote to those in territories outside of the state. At the end of the day, you believe that they country should be ran how you feel it should be ran. You’d be more suited pursuing politics in China or North Korea then in Israel – then you don’t have to worry about the pesky will of the people.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            A full week ago, on June 5, I cited reports from HRW and another group condemning Egypt for returning Eritreans to Eritrea. You may not like my sources, but at least I presented some. Of course, you yourself don’t merely refute other people’s claims, you also make all sorts of legal and factual claims without providing any sources. So why should anyone take you seriously?

            I couldn’t read all of your last paragraph, but from the beginning I gather that despite your burning devotion to democracy and following the will of the people, you have no problem with millions of Palestinians living under Israeli military dictatorship. What a surprise.

            And yes, . Lame.

            Reply to Comment
          • Adam Dayton

            To summarize – You’re position is that Israel is obligated to not kick the infiltrators out as they are protected by the convention. The crux of your argument is that their having passed through Egypt does not deny them their right to protection. According to Article 38, a state is not prohibited from taking action against Asylum seekers when they pass through a country where they are not under an Article 1 threat.

            You’ve provided no evidence whatsoever that the infiltrators are under an Article 1 threat in Egypt.

            Until you support your claim with relevant sources, your claim is unfounded.

            Reply to Comment
          • Joel

            @Ben

            What State(s) hosts more Eritrean ‘asylum seekers’ than Israel?

            Reply to Comment
          • Joel

            “Shall we then throw the Eritreans into the sea?”

            No. Israel should move every able bodied Eritrean to unused military barracks for basic infantry and construction battalion training. Six to eight months.

            Upon completion of training, these brigades should be given light arms, ammo and cash and than landed on the shores of Eritrea under the cover of Israeli warplanes.

            After that, they’re on their own.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            So, Israel should take its 30,000 Eritrean refugees — who fled (among other things) forced conscription and being thrown into stupid useless meat-grinder wars against Ethiopia etc. — and subject them to forced conscription, then launch them into a stupid useless meat-grinder war against the 500,000+-strong Eritrean Army? Please, send me a little baggie of what you’ve been smoking …

            I don’t waste my time presenting detailed research findings to talkbackers who don’t make efforts to find out the facts because their minds are already made up, but if you’re really interested, you can find answers to your question about #s of Eritrean refugees, country by country, in the UNHCR 2013 country profiles. Check out Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Italy and the UK for starters.

            Reply to Comment
          • Joel

            The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

            Thomas Jefferson

            Better the Eritreans fight for their liberty than prowl Tel Aviv beaches stealing wallets off of beach blankets.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Thomas Jefferson never heard a shot fired in anger; his military service was confined to a country militia in Virginia, and he spent the Revolutionary War in government and other pursuits. Like Jefferson, you’re comfortable calling for other people to spill their blood. Why not let Eritrean refugees start new lives in Israel? What are you afraid of? Do you think they’re all natural-born criminals? All thieves? I’m sure some are, but then again, maybe some of them don’t have much choice as long as Israel refuses to let them work and doesn’t provide them with financial support. Honestly, do you feel any compassion at all for them?

            Reply to Comment
          • Joel

            ” Like Jefferson, you’re comfortable calling for other people to spill their blood.”

            The Eritreans have overstayed their welcome. I’m an eyewitness to they’re resort to street crime. Time to move on.

            BTW Ben Z. Where do you live? Israel?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Yep, I live in Israel, the Light unto the Nations, home of the Jewish people, compassionate sons of compassionate fathers — as our sources teach. You?

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >Yep, I live in Israel

            It does not quite seem so – your level of unawareness of what is going on in the state is comparable to that of an uninformed foreigner.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Pinnacle of idiocy.

            >Why not let Eritrean refugees start new lives in Israel?

            Because they have their own country.

            >What are you afraid of?

            Sufficient is that my female friends who reside in south Tel Aviv are afraid.

            >Do you think they’re all natural-born criminals?

            You are such a primitive racist. Mwahaha.

            >All thieves?

            Some of them. Some are drug-dealers, some are rapists, some are murderers. We have enough of our own and really are not interested in importing more.

            >I’m sure some are, but then again, maybe some of them don’t have much choice as long as Israel refuses to let them work and doesn’t provide them with financial support.

            That’s a big phat lie. There is enough jobs available even for those who have no permits. But guess what? Not everyone want’s to work – stealing wallets and bicycles is much easier.

            >Honestly, do you feel any compassion at all for them?

            Compassion for people who are running away from their government but are not capable of making – or even planning – a revolution? No.

            You see, if ALL people of Eritrea would rise, their government would not hold for even few days, but that is just not the case. Each nation deserves it’s rulers, as you probably know.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Wow. The Eritreans should start a revolution? Okay, then we don’t need refugee law at all. Everyone should just overthrow their oppressive regimes. Why didn’t the silly German Jews realize that? D’Oh!

            Alternatively, why didn’t the silly German Jews realize that Nazi propaganda accusing Jewish men of seducing and raping Aryan women was scaring the locals, so they should leave? Like all those Eritrean rapists …

            Again: Israel doesn’t give Eritreans work permits or financial support. They can’t work legally. Golly, I kind of got the impression you objected to Eritreans breaking the law …

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >Why didn’t the silly German Jews realize that? D’Oh!

            Jews were minority in Germany.
            Eritreans are not minority in Eritrea.

            A bit of a difference, yes.

            >Alternatively, why didn’t the silly German Jews realize that Nazi propaganda accusing Jewish men of seducing and raping Aryan women was scaring the locals, so they should leave? Like all those Eritrean rapists …

            And now you are comparing Nazi propaganda to real-life events.

            >Again: Israel doesn’t give Eritreans work permits or financial support.

            That’s a lie.

            >They can’t work legally.

            And two more lies here:
            1 – A LOT of Eritreans are working legally.
            2 – A LOT of Israeli are working illegally

            >Golly, I kind of got the impression you objected to Eritreans breaking the law …

            And now you are comparing breaking state laws – such as employment without proper permits, to breaking non-state pan-humane laws, such as prohibition to steal or rape.

            Are you really that dumb, or merely pretending to be?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Damn Trespasser, you were finally right about something, and I was wrong. Apparently some of the Eritreans do have work permits.

            When it comes to racist propaganda, whether Nazi, Israeli or otherwise, one nasty trick employed is to use crime committed by a minority to tar the whole group. Of course Eritreans have a crime problem; most immigrants that have been through hell do; take for example all the Jewish organized crime in NYC eighty or a hundred years ago. Immigration and refugee law does permit Israel to deny asylum to Eritreans convicted of serious crimes and deport them if possible; but what about the rest?

            Dude, I’ve followed your comments for a while, and they show that you live in a ghetto; you telling me that I’m unaware of what happens in Israel is just funny.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >Apparently some of the Eritreans do have work permits.

            No. A lot, or maybe even most of Eritreans have work permits, while many others are working without such permits at all.

            Apparently you never had checked who is cooking food in great most of Tel Aviv restaurants.

            >When it comes to racist propaganda, whether Nazi, Israeli or otherwise, one nasty trick employed is to use crime committed by a minority to tar the whole group.

            I see. So, if after arrival of a certain group crime levels skyrocketed, the group is not responsible. Yeah, right.

            >Of course Eritreans have a crime problem

            Yeah, I know.

            >most immigrants that have been through hell do.

            Bullshit.

            >take for example all the Jewish organized crime in NYC eighty or a hundred years ago

            More bullshit. Jews in USA 80-100 years ago weren’t through any “hell”, neither were Italians, nor Puerto-Ricans.

            >Immigration and refugee law does permit Israel to deny asylum to Eritreans convicted of serious crimes and deport them if possible; but what about the rest?

            And what about those who commit crimes but aren’t caught/convicted?

            >Dude, I’ve followed your comments for a while, and they show that you live in a ghetto; you telling me that I’m unaware of what happens in Israel is just funny.

            Me living in a ghetto is a baseless allegation – unless of course you are claiming that whole Israel is a ghetto, which is a truth to an extent, while you being unaware of what is going on in Israel is rather obvious from your posts: You are unfamiliar with security situation in S. Tel Aviv, you do not know what is the situation with Eritrean employment, you said that someone turned out to be a Mossad agent, et cetera, et cetera.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Can’t see the end of your comment Trespasser, but in reply to the rest:

            Criminals (not only Eritreans) who don’t get caught and convicted — well, sadly, they get away with it, don’t they? What are you proposing, that we assume all Eritreans are criminals and on that basis jail and then deport all of them? Really?

            You maybe misunderstood my analogy about new immigrants/refugees and crime, but it’s not important enough to belabor.

            My hat’s off to the Eritreans who are cooking your food in Tel Aviv. Bon appetit! It must be nice to go out for dinner, then go home and write talkbacks demanding incarceration and deportation for the guys who cooked your steak and washed your dishes. I myself would rather prosecute the restarateurs who are paying Eritreans less than minimum wage and providing them with none of the benefits required by law, but maybe those guys are your buddies.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Criminals (not only Eritreans) who don’t get caught and convicted — well, sadly, they get away with it, don’t they?

            It pretty much depends on community. Israeli criminals are rather often caught because their friends/neighbours/accomplices are telling on them, which is simply not the case with the Eritrean community.

            >What are you proposing, that we assume all Eritreans are criminals

            I’m only saying that we already have more than enough of locally-made criminals, and there is no good reason to import more.

            >…for the guys who cooked your steak and washed your dishes.

            I’d rather have my steak cooked and my dishes washed by a Jew – or an Arab.

            Reply to Comment
    5. Ben Zakkai

      Ynet (Reuters), Egypt police kill Eritrean woman at Israeli border, 29.6.10; Gatestone Institute, Egyptian Border Police Shoot African Migrant, 30.6.09; International Federation for Human Rights, Egypt: Eritrean migrant killed at the Israeli Border, 17.10.08; Haaretz, Egyptian police shoot Eritrean trying to cross border into Israel, 10.11.07

      Reply to Comment
    6. ISRAEL WILL DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO TRANSFER ERITREANS TO THIRD COUNTRY NEITHER SEND THEN TO THEIR COUNTRY.IT IS THE TECNIC THEY USED TO MADE THE PAST YEARS .IT IS NOT THEY RESPECT INTERNATIONAL LAW INSTEAD FOR THEIR ECONOMIC,POLITICAL AND IN GENERAL FOR THEIR SAFTY OF THEIR PEOPLE AND FOR THEIR EXISTENCE .BUT LIKE GERMANY BEFORE WW2 THAT THEY OVER THROW THE LEAGE OF NATIONS AND APPEASAMENT POLICY THE SANE THING NOW WITH ISRAEL THEY ARE NEGLECTING INTERNATIONAL LAWS ,THE UN IS NOTHJING FOR ISAELIS.SO IF THE WORLD WANTS TO SEE HISTORY TO REPEAT AND NORE CONSICONCIAL DISASTEREOUS WAY LET WAIT ISRAEL TO DO WHAT IT WANTS .WE SEE THE SANE COUSES PRODUCING NEARLY THE SAME CONSICONSES WHY DO WE PEOPLE LEARN FROM THEW PAST .

      Reply to Comment
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