Despite warnings that African migrants in Israel would be deported or could be detained indefinitely, Israel has bowed to pressure from the UN refugee agency and reached a compromise. Migrants will not be shipped back to Africa, but to other Western countries.
At least 37,000 Africans are currently in Israel, many seeking asylum currently. The nationalists who support the right wing Likudnik party are pressuring leaders to expel the immigrants, but international opinion and the voice of the UN have combined to result in a less hardline approach.
The warnings of deportation or detention were received in February and the two month deadline was fast approaching. Initially, the Israeli government offered $3,500 and a plane ticket to what they said was a safe destination in sub-Saharan Africa. According to some Israeli media reports the nation in question is Rwanda. Some migrants who took the trip warned others not to go fearing they would be killed.
Since March 15 a temporary order had been issued by Israel's High Court which froze the implementation of the order.
<blockquote>“Israel and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees have reached unprecedented understandings for the departure of at least 16,250 migrants … to Western nations,” the Israeli statement said, without naming the countries.</blockquote>
The spokeswoman for the UNCHR that Reuters spoke to offered no more details about the exact agreement they had come to. Israel has all but stopped the flow of African migrants via their armed border fence. So far though, 64,000 or so African migrants made their way in since 2005 with thousands of those having already left.
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