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Israel to deport African migrants but won’t say to where

(GIN) — According to a leaked Israeli court document, a deal has been reached with an unidentified country to absorb some of the 60,000 “illegal” immigrants, mostly Eritrean or Sudanese that have sought asylum in Israel.

Israel is reportedly in talks with two other countries to secure a similar agreement.

Few other details of the transfer were available. Israeli Army Radio reported that the unnamed country was in east Africa and did not suffer from any unrest that would harm the migrants. The Israeli paper Haaretz said that Israel had agreed to provide agricultural expertise as part of the deal.

The Supreme Court has ordered the government to provide details of the arrangement, including the name of the African country, within seven days.

Or Kashti, an analyst writing for Haaretz, condemned the deal. “As if it were an export company, the State of Israel is trying to ship tens of thousands of people from Eritrea and Sudan to other countries, out of sight and out of mind. The main thing is that they will fly away from here. Price isn’t particularly important nor is their fate in their new countries.

“Israeli imperviousness, the turning away from the distress of others, marks a new stage that is far from surprising. This is a natural progression from the systematic disregard for claims of asylum that were filed to the embarrassing legal amendment that enabled the detainment in prison facilities and incitement bordering on dehumanization. What is being discussed aren’t humans but objects.”

Meanwhile, a new law that bans undocumented foreign workers from sending money back to their home countries was praised by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who called the law “of great importance” to Israel.

Under the law, an “illegal” migrant will not be able to send property or money outside of Israel, unless it is worth less than 70 percent of the minimum wage, multiplied by the number of months the migrant has been in Israel. Anything else would need approval by the state.

NGOs and lawmakers call the new rule a sign of Israel’s toughened stance on migrants, with William Tall, the head of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Israel at the time, saying he knew of no such precedent of a country determining what an asylum seeker can do with the money he earns.

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