Netanyahu calls for ‘immediate expulsion’ of illegal African migrants rioting in Tel Aviv

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the mass deportation of illegal African immigrants on Sunday following massive brawls and violence in Tel Aviv.

He convened a special ministerial team to evaluate the situation and to decide exactly how those who break the law should be handled.

“Now there remains the serious problem of the illegal infiltrators in southern Tel Aviv and other places, but what happened yesterday crossed a red line. This disturbance, the bloodshed, these are things that we cannot tolerate,” Netanyahu said at the meeting, according to a press release.

“We want harsh measures against the rioters, including the immediate deportation of those who took part,” Netanyahu commented during the meeting.

Eritrean migrant rival groups instigated violent clashes in Israel’s capital that resulted in dozens of people being injured on Saturday. Supporters and opponents of Eritrea’s government faced off with each other brandishing construction lumber, pieces of metal, and rocks, smashing shop windows and police cars. Netanyahu wants those who participated to be deported immediately.

Police in riot gear shot tear gas at the rioters. They used stun grenades and live rounds while officers on horseback attempted to control the violent protesters.

“The violence on Saturday returned to the fore the issue of migrants, which has long divided Israel. Its resurgence comes as Israel is torn over Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul plan, and supporters cite the migrant issue as a reason why the courts should be reined in, saying they have stood in the way of pushing the migrants out,” the NBC News reported.

Netanyahu also asked the ministers to present him with plans “for the removal of all the other illegal infiltrators,” and referred to his remarks concerning the Supreme Court striking down some measures meant to encourage the migrants to leave.

“Under international law, Israel cannot forcibly send migrants back to a country where their life or liberty may be at risk,” NBC News stated.

Netanyahu evidently doesn’t think it will be a problem.

(Video Credit: Sky News)

Ahead of an official visit to Cyprus, Netanyahu announced that the ministerial team was seeking to deport 1,000 supporters of the Eritrean government who were involved in Saturday’s violence.

“They have no claim to refugee status. They support this regime,” Netanyahu declared, according to the Associated Press. “If they support the regime so much, they would do well to return to their country of origin.”

Approximately 25,000 illegal African immigrants now reside in Israel. They primarily come from Sudan and Eritrea. Israel recognizes very few of them as actual asylum seekers. They are considered economic migrants and Israel feels no obligation to assist them.

A number of tactics have been tried to get them to leave including imprisonment, withholding wages until they agree to leave, and offering them cash to relocate to another African country. Leftists have accused Netanyahu of coercing them to leave.

“Migrants’ supporters say Israel, a country founded upon the ashes of the Holocaust and built up by Jewish refugees, should welcome those seeking asylum. Opponents claim migrants have brought crime to the low-income southern Tel Aviv neighborhoods where they have settled,” NBC stated.

“The clashes came as Eritrean government supporters marked the 30th anniversary of the current ruler’s rise to power, an event held near the Eritrean embassy in south Tel Aviv. Eritrea has one of the world’s worst human rights records and migrants in Israel and elsewhere say they fear death if they were to return,” the media outlet added.

Netanyahu’s critics see his judicial overhaul plan as a power grab meant to emasculate the courts and limit judicial oversight of government decisions and legislation. Supporters don’t see it that way. They claim it is intended to restore power to elected legislators and rein in what they say is an interventionist and liberal-leaning justice system.

Norway and Sweden have also seen similar violent Eritrean protests. They have also hit Germany, Canada, and Seattle, Washington.

“On Saturday, Norway’s second-largest city Bergen, witnessed clashes between supporters and opponents of the Eritrean government during a rally commemorating the country’s independence day. Norwegian authorities said government opponents threw bottles and stones at rally participants,” the Associated Press reported.

“Large numbers of police forces with shields and visors fanned out on the streets, and parts of Bergen’s city center were cordoned off because of the violence. Over 100 people were involved in the clashes and at least three people were detained, while one person was injured, Norwegian authorities said,” the media outlet continued.

“In early August, Swedish media reported that about 1,000 protesters stormed an Eritrean festival in Stockholm, the capital, setting booths and cars on fire and using rocks and sticks as weapons, leaving at least 52 people injured and more than 100 people detained,” the Associated Press noted.

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