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Israel says third country agreed to take in asylum seekers, Foreign Ministry denies

The state prosecutor said that Israel has signed an agreement with an unnamed African country to take tens of thousands of Eritrean asylum seekers Israel hopes to deport. The only problem? Israel’s Foreign Ministry has never heard of such a deal.

“It will be interesting to see if thousands of Eritreans depart from here in the coming weeks,” a senior Foreign Ministry official told Haaretz, adding, “We are skeptical that it will happen.”

Regardless of whether or not there is an agreement, the prospect of deporting tens of thousands of asylum seekers raises serious legal questions and brings into doubt Israel’s commitment to the 1951 Refugee Conventions, which it signed and ratified. As reported last week, Israel has yet to complete processing any of the more than 1,400 asylum applications of detainees in its detention center for Africans.

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