Tigrai Online,June 03, 2012
Interior Minister Eli Yishai met on Sunday with the Eritrean ambassador and asked him to urge his fellow Eritreans to stay out of Israel.
Yishai asked the envoy, Tesfamariam Tekeste Debbas, to send a message to his countrymen, telling them that Israel is not a suitable destination for them, and that future illegal migrants will likely be imprisoned here.
Also on Sunday, Israel’s Population Immigration and Borders Authority decided, after a series of discussions with the Shin Bet, that illegal migrants who cross into Israel from Egypt will be detained for lengthy periods, rather than being permitted to move into Israeli cities.
This decision was made despite a law passed earlier this year, which limits the prison term of illegal migrants to three years.
Activists in south Tel Aviv welcomed the decision, but MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) said that long periods of detention are not only problematic but inconsistent with the UN’s Refugee Convention.
During their meeting, Yishai and Debbas discussed the possibility of repatriating the Eritrean migrants in a way that, according to Yishai, “would ensure their dignity, but simultaneously maintain Israel as the home of the Jewish people.”
Yishai has faced much criticism in recent weeks for statements he’s made against the African migrant population. In early May, Yishai said that he believed that African asylum seekers in Israel should be imprisoned and deported and last week told Maariv that “Many women in Tel Aviv have been raped by the foreigners, but they are afraid to complain in case they are tagged with the stigma of carrying AIDS.”
Israel has been searching for ways to deal with the growing number of African migrants entering its territory. In May alone, more than 2,000 people crossed the Egyptian border into Israel. It is estimated that there are roughly 70,000 African migrants currently in the country, most of them from Eritrea and Sudan.
According to the UN, people cannot be returned to Eritrea because they face persecution there. forced military enlistment and possible torture at the hand of the government if they do.
Source: Time Of Isreal