Netanyahu cancels asylum seeker deal amid growing pressure

By Middle East Affairs

Just one day after a major agreement was reached to prevent Israel from deporting asylum seekers by the masses, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday he’s cancelling the deal.

Israel houses about 30,000 asylum seekers from Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Initially the intention was to deport them to Rwanda and Uganda, but a last-minute deal with the United Nations paved the way for Western nations such as Germany and Italy to absorb about half of the migrants, while the other half would become established residents of Israel.

Shortly after the announcement, Netanyahu’s right-wing supporters expressed deep criticism of the deal. Facing pressure, Netanyahu suspended the deal only hours later, but critics said it wasn’t enough.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett told Israel Radio: “I am glad that the prime minister has withdrawn (from the deal), but that’s not enough. We have to cancel this deal, and mainly to take out the infiltrators (from Israel).”

On Facebook, Bennett wrote that the deal with the U.N. “on the resettlement of infiltrators is bad for Israel. Its approval will set a precedent that Israel is granting residency to illegal infiltrators. The Israeli government will not be able to convince anyone in the future that infiltrating into Israel isn’t worthwhile.”

Shortly after, Netanyahu canceled the deal altogether.

In a statement issued by his office, he said: “I have listened carefully to the many comments on the agreement. As a result, and after I again weighed the advantages and disadvantages, I decided to cancel the deal.”

 

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