Israel to deport 120 Sudanese
JERUSALEM ISRAEL was forcing 120 South Sudanese to leave the country on Sunday, starting what was to be a mass deportation of thousands of unauthorised African migrants who have poured into the Jewish state.
Some 60,000 impoverished Africans, most from Eritrea and Sudan, have slipped into Israel across its southern border with Egypt since 2005, fleeing repressive regimes and seeking work.
The influx has caused friction with Israeli locals and several incidents recently turned violent. Authorities, alarmed by the swelling numbers, say the migrants are a burden on the economy and threaten to undermine Israel’s Jewish character.
Facing a public uproar, the government launched a campaign last week to round up and expel migrants from South Sudan and other countries that have friendly relations with Israel, and therefore would be expected to treat returning citizens well. In all, it hopes to expel 4,500 Africans.
In reality, the operation will only make a small dent in the total number of migrants.
Under an international treaty, Israel cannot deport those from Sudan, an enemy state, or to Eritrea, a country with a miserable human rights record, because they could face harm if they return to their homelands. In addition, other Africans continue to flood into Israel. Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad said that while Israeli authorities rounded up about 300 people over the past week, some 260 more Africans entered Israel illegally.