Netanyahu Seeks to Override Court, Reopen Migrant Detention Centers

Asylum seekers protest against deportation in Tel Aviv Israel Saturday Feb. 24 2018. Israel considers the vast majority of the nearly 40,000 migrants to be job seekers and says it has no legal obligation to keep them. The Africans nearly all from dic

Eighteen Jewish Democrats out of 21 in the House of Representatives said in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that they were "dismayed" and "disappointed" over his retreat from a plan that replaced his earlier proposal to deport tens of thousands of African migrants from Israel.

Netanyahu announced a plan in January to deport and/or jail the asylum seekers, many of whom have been in Israel for years.

The High Court has demanded the government present a deportation plan that would safely resettle the migrants in a third country, or set them free from detention.

The migrants and rights groups say they are seeking asylum and are fleeing war and persecution.

African asylum seekers and activists protest against plans to deport migrants at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on March 24, 2018.

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In a state statement, Israel said it will stop holding pre-deportation hearings for the asylum seekers and all previous decisions to forcefully deport the Africans living in the country have now been nullified. I was so scared every day.

More than 4,000 migrants have already left Israel for Rwanda and Uganda since 2013 under a voluntary program.

After leaving a UN-backed relocation plan a few weeks ago, Israel shifted efforts towards finalising an arrangement to send the migrants against their will to Uganda.

"In reality there is nothing voluntary about them". The plan had sparked widespread global condemnation and protests inside Israel. "Israel remains under the obligation not to transfer anyone to a country" where they would be unsafe, said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

The cancelations came after a political pressure by ultra-nationalist ministers not to allow any African asylum seeker to stay in Israel.

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