Israel’s unwanted African migrants and the UN’s Statement on the cancellation of Israel-UNHCR agreement
UNHCR’s Statement on the cancellation of Israel agreement
It is with regret that UNHCR notes today’s cancellation by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Israel-UNHCR Agreement of 2nd April on solutions for Eritreans and Sudanese currently in Israel. The Agreement was the result of discussions over an extended period of time, and reflected a shared effort to find a solution that gave international protection to people arriving in Israel fleeing war or persecution while also meeting the concerns of Israeli host communities.
UNHCR continues to believe that a win-win agreement that would both benefit Israel and people needing asylum is in everyone’s best interests. And we encourage the Government of Israel to consider the matter further, while standing ready to be of help.
Promoting common answers and a sharing of responsibilities among countries on matters of asylum has for decades been part of UNHCR’s work and advocacy. With more than 65 million people forcibly displaced, a third of whom are refugees, the need for this has never been greater.
Several hours after Netanyahu’s dramatic press conference, he went from what Bennett called “surrendering” to surrendering to Bennett.
He did not seek its approval in the cabinet, the security cabinet, or the forum of coalition party leaders before announcing it in a hastily called press conference.
There was a reason for not informing Shaked. She is the political partner of Netanyahu’s puppet master and rival, Naftali Bennett, who knew that once Bennett heard about the agreement, he would get the Right to rise up in anger.
But Netanyahu apparently did not know how much the Right would be impacted by Bennett’s pronouncement that the agreement was a “surrender” and would make Israel a “‘paradise for infiltrators.’”
Even Netanyahu’s former No. 2 in the Likud, former interior minister Gideon Sa’ar, who had made a point of not criticizing the prime minister since he began his political comeback exactly a year ago – even when encouraged to do so by journalists – called the plan a severe mistake.
Several hours after Netanyahu’s dramatic press conference, he went from what Bennett called surrendering to surrendering to Bennett.
This was not the first time the former King Bibi gave into his political protégé and former chief of staff, who will be speaking at The Jerusalem Post Conference in New York on April 29.
Just last month, Bennett succeeded in rallying other coalition partners to oppose the prime minister’s plan to advance the next election. If Netanyahu wanted the election in June, when it could suit him best politically and legally, Bennett obtained a majority for holding it in October, by which time Mandelblit could decide on an indictment of the prime minister.
Netanyahu also changed his tune on the so-called “Hebron shooter” Elor Azaria after he was outflanked by Bennett on the Right.
So now Netanyahu has already met with south Tel Aviv residents about the migrants, and he might have to meet with his cabinet as well.
He will do that in his capacity as prime minister, but Bennett has proven he may have a share in that title as well.
It seems that Israeli Prime Minister nixed his own deal with the UN before the ink was dry on the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)‘s crowing e-mail to its followers.
I received Mark Hetfield’s e-mail at 3:28 p.m. yesterday, but sometime later yesterday the New York Times reported that the deal was off.
I was planning to post on the Hetfield e-mail anyway this morning, but now the story gets even juicier. My focus would have been on the outrageous idea that 16,000 Africans who broke in to Israel over the years would be resettled as refugees in WESTERN COUNTRIES. Which countries? The US! Surely Europe can’t handle one more needy African!
(Readers need to know that we (the US) are already bringing rejected asylum seekers from Israel to be placed in Anytown, USA. 71 arrived between Oct. 1, 2017 and February, 28, 2018. Hundreds more have come in recent years probably all resettled by HIAS.)
Below is Mark Hetfield, CEO of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society yesterday. We previously questioned why HIAS, one of nine major federal resettlement contractors, was mucking around in Israel’s business in the first place.
Then here is the New York Times sometime after that e-mail went out.
By the way, after the original flood of illegal aliens entering Israel, the Israelis built a very successful wall.
JERUSALEM — In a head-spinning turnaround, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel announced on Monday that he had reached an extraordinary deal with the United Nations refugee agency to resettle thousands of African asylum seekers in Western countries. Within hours Mr. Netanyahu suspended the deal after coming under heavy criticism from his coalition partners.
The flip-flop appeared to reflect Mr. Netanyahu’s fear of losing support from those partners or from his right-wing constituency, who call the asylum seekers infiltrators and want them gone. His opponents on the left described the prime minister’s behavior as an embarrassing and cowardly surrender under pressure.
Netanyahu, who is battling for his political future under the cloud of multiple corruption scandals and faces possible charges of bribery, had apparently failed to consult with most of his own conservative Likud Party colleagues or coalition allies before announcing the migrant deal.
The agreement with the United Nations was meant to replace a contentious Israeli plan that had offered the migrants a stark choice: forced deportation to Africa or prison. That plan fell through after Rwanda, the African country meant to receive the deportees, announced that it would accept only those who left Israel voluntarily.
In the afternoon, in a televised news conference, Mr. Netanyahu triumphantly announced the new deal, under which the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) committed to persuading countries in the West to take at least 16,250 migrants over five years, while Israel would grant official status as temporary residents to most who remained.
But the agreement to let many stay in Israel drew harsh criticism from some of Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition allies, who were taken by surprise. Naftali Bennett, the education minister and leader of the far-right Jewish Home Political Party, said the deal would “turn Israel into an ‘paradise for infiltrators.’”
Mr. Netanyahu backtracked.
The plan was to be carried out in three phases, with the first 6,000 migrants expected to leave over the next 18 months.
William Spindler, a spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency in Geneva, said there was no agreement in place with other countries to take any of them. He said that the agency would need countries to come forward with offers, but that “we are confident we will be able to find places for these 16,000 people.”
The UN is confident! I’m not! A major part of the deal requires WESTERN COUNTRIES to take 16,000 —- which countries?
And, why should Israel’s, or Malta’s, or Australia’s illegal aliens be our problem!
Refugees, asylum seekers, migrants are the problem of the country they have escaped to—-they are not the US’s problem—and if the President is serious about reforming the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program, simply disallowing resettlement from first world countries is something he can do at the State Department level!
September 30, 2017: Donald Trump had set the new ceiling for the year (FY17) at 50,000, but ultimately went over the cap for a total of 53,716 admitted. 23,594 entered the US since Trump was inaugurated in January 2017.
October 1, 2017: The President set the cap for FY18 at 45,000, and federal contractors wailed.
March 1, 2018:
8,583 refugees have been admitted in 5 months.
That means that, if the present rate continues, arrivals will be around 20,500 for the full year.
Two articles I read today mentioned Canada, Germany and Italy as the Western Countries to send to. Problem was, spokesman for two European countries said their countries had never agreed to any such deal. I doubt if even PM Trudeau would agree to this transfer if he was even informed of this “agreement.”
***Update*** Canada in the cross hairs, see here.
See category, ‘Israel and refugees’ with 169 previous posts archived here.