In its response to a petition filed by human rights organizations and six African asylum seekers, the State Attorney’s office said today that the government has not made an official decision to arrest Sudanese refugees. The reply also said that Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who stated publicly that asylum seekers have until October 15 to leave the country on their own accord, spoke without government authorization.
According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, one of the organizations that filed the petition in hopes of preventing the state from detaining asylum seekers:
The State Attorney emphasized in its reply that the Population and Immigration Authority received no instructions to arrest Sudanese citizens, and that should such a decision be reached in the future, it shall be published through official channels by the Authority thirty days prior to its execution
Speaking of the State Attorney’s remarks, ACRI attorney Oded Feller said:
Eli Yishai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of the State of Israel, took a severe and unprecedented act, and no responsible authority took action to restrain him. The minister responsible for treatment of asylum seekers did not hesitate to issue the baseless and cruel announcement that thousands of asylum seekers along with their children would be detained in extreme conditions in the desert. The decree sowed panic among thousands of people, including refugees and victims of genocide and torture, women, children and infants. The Prime Minister and Attorney General, who knew the announcement had no foundation, stood by and said nothing.