Netanayahu considers new options for deportation of asylum seekers

By Middle East Affairs

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his supporters are looking at new ways to deport asylum seekers by the masses after he nixed a deal with the United Nations to relocate them to Western countries.

The government is considering sending the asylum seekers to a different country in Africa than originally planned, which would have been Rwanda or Uganda. Another option would be to reopen the Holot detention facility.

Sources in the coalition told Haaretz that the government is also looking into promoting legislation that would allow the incarceration and expulsion of the asylum seekers, although it goes against a Supreme Court ruling.

Education Minister Naftali Bennet said Tuesday on Twitter he would support the law.

“As we said multiple times, we support the re-legislation of the law to prevent infiltration, including a clause that would prevent the Supreme Court from blocking the law,” he tweeted.

“This will create an incentive for the infiltrators to leave Israel,” the education minister wrote. “We fully back the prime minister in promoting that clause and expect the law to be passed quickly.”

The Supreme Court gave the government an extension until April 9 to decide how to respond to petitions filed against the deportation.

Israel hosts about 30,000 asylum seekers from Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The original deal with the United Nations would have sent about half of them to Western nations such as Germany and Italy, while the rest would have been given resident status in Israel. Less than a day after the deal was reach, Netanyahu canceled it, caving under pressure from his right-wing supporters.

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