One day after proudly announcing a UN agreement to resettle 16,000 asylum seekers, Netanyahu cancels the agreement due to criticism from the Right. And yet, the anti-deportation campaign can claim a victory.
Benjamin Netanyahu is in trouble.
With his announcement of the UN agreement regarding the African asylum seekers yesterday, and his announcement several hours later that the agreement had been suspended, Netanyahu made one thing clear: the Left’s anti-deportation campaign had won.
Deporting the asylum seekers to a “third country” in Africa is off the table. The only available option to alleviate the suffering of the asylum seekers and the residents of South Tel Aviv is a humane solution that combines giving asylum seekers formal status in Israel, dispersing the asylum seeker population to cities and towns around the country, resettling them in safe countries in the West, and massive government investment in revitalizing the neighborhoods of south Tel Aviv. This is not exactly what the asylum seekers themselves, human rights groups, and anti-deportation activists demanded — but it is very, very close.
Netanyahu put the kibosh on the mass deportation plan his government initiated last December. Deportation to Rwanda, where almost no asylum seekers deported from Israel received formal status, from where almost all deported asylum seekers (with the exception of less than 10) fled — is no longer on the agenda, perhaps for good. Netanyahu’s cancelation of the agreement with the UN does not change this. The victory celebrations of the asylum seekers, aid groups, and activists yesterday were not premature.Read More