Israel cancels expulsion of thousands of African migrants

A boy waves the Israeli flag as African migrants and Israelis protest in Tel Aviv on April 9, 2018, against the government's attempt to forcibly deport African refugees and asylum seekers.
(Jack Guez / AFP/Getty Images)

The Israeli government acknowledged Tuesday it cannot expel African migrants against their will and has canceled all pending deportation orders.

In a statement to the Supreme Court, the state said: “It is not possible to implement expulsions to a third country without [migrants’] consent.”

Some 35,000 African migrants, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, are in Israel. The government wants most of them to leave, but has not been able to find a way to expel them lawfully.


Last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached a deal with the U.N. to resettle half of the migrants in Western nations and absorb the rest. But he called it off hours later amid objections from nationalist critics.

Later Tuesday, Netanyahu tweeted that he agreed with the interior minister to prepare to reopen detention camps for migrants.