Israel cancels plan to forcibly repatriate African migrants

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Approximately 38,000 refugees from Sudan and Eritrea, fleeing potential persecution in their home countries, have sought asylum in Israel.

The country has chose to shelve plans to deport about 40,000 African refugees.

"At this stage there is no possibility to carry out a forced deportation to a third country", state attorneys told the High Court of Justice on Tuesday.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted that he intends to reopen Holot, a remote detention facility in Israel's Negev desert that had been used until recently to house mainly single, male migrants.

The State also said that individuals whose temporary residency permits have expired will be eligible for a 60-day extension, as has been customary heretofore.

A wide coalition of critics in Israel and in the Jewish American community had called Israel's deportation plans unethical and a stain on the country's image as a refuge for Jewish migrants.

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Clarifies that they also urged the Israeli government to quickly find a solution that meets the interests of both Israel and refugees.

Official figures released by the Interior Ministry show Israel has some 42,000 African migrants, many of whom live in the impoverished neighborhoods of southern Tel Aviv. Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers agree to them under pressure.

Last month, a coalition of six human rights organizations presented a petition to the high court demanding to see the agreements Israel had signed with the third countries, identified by Israeli media and NGOs as Rwanda and Uganda. The United Nations plan would have left half the migrants in Israel with undetermined status while seeking countries willing to absorb the other half, a process that can take up to five years.

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That plan was vigorously criticized by the worldwide human rights community, as well as an array of Jewish organizations and figures in the United States, including a number that rarely openly criticize Israel.

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