The Israeli government has begun on Sunday to deliver letters to immigrants from from Sudan and Eritrea residents in Israel, asking them to leave the country within 60 days with financial support of $ 3,500 and the payment of a plane ticket, reported several local media .
It is the first step of the new plan approved in January by the government, which affects between 35,000 and 40,000 immigrants and states that the majority will have to go to a third country or be imprisoned indefinitely from April.
African residents will receive the letters when they go to the Population, Immigration and Border Authority to renew their residence permits.
These will be delivered at first to about 20,000 Sudanese and Eritrean men without children in their care, reports the newspaper Haaretz.
The majority of African immigrants smuggled into the country through the Egyptian Sinai border before the Israeli government built a fence that now separates both territories.
According to the NGO Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, some 12,000 applied for refuge upon arrival in the country (figure since 2013, when it was allowed to do so), but 7,000 requests were denied, only 11 were approved and the rest is still in process.
“We do not know exactly the number of people that the government wants to deport,” as he has not given exact figures in this regard, Reut Mijaeli, director of that NGO, told reporters.
Currently, some 37,000 Eritreans and Sudanese reside in Israel, according to Mijaeli, who explains that “for now, families, people with vulnerability, minors and the elderly are excluded from the plan, but this could change in the future”.
Dozens of immigrants held in a detention center in Holot (in the south of the country) have already received letters urging them to leave Israel, he added.
Around 60 Eritreans interned in that center received in the last weeks a letter in Hebrew entitled “Informative note for the infiltrator who goes to a safe third country”, where they have the option of returning to their country or traveling to Rwanda if they do not want to remain imprisoned indefinitely, Haaretz reported today.
The Government’s new policy on African immigrants has been publicly condemned by groups of rabbis, writers, academics, doctors and Holocaust survivors, who sent letters to the Israeli authorities requesting their annulment, and by plane pilots who indicated that they refuse to pilot the devices in which they are deported.
Last Friday, a group of academics specialized in international law stated in a letter that the government’s plan violates international human rights laws, international jurisdiction over refugee status and the principle of non-refoulement and urged the Prosecutor’s Office to oppose to him, digital Ynet reported today.