Netanyahu: Israel will not join Global Migration Treaty

Seeking to secure Israel’s Jewish majority and character, Israel will not join the Global Compact for Migration.

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel will not join the United Nations’ (UN) Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).

In a statement Tuesday, Netanyahu, who also serves as Israel’s foreign minister, said he had instructed the Foreign Ministry to announce that Israel will not accede to, and will not sign, the GCM.

“We are committed to guarding our borders against illegal migrants. This is what we have done and this is what we will continue to do,” he stated.

The US, Austria and Hungry reportedly had asked Israel, which was initially involved in formulating the GCM, not to sign the treaty. These three countries – together with Australia, the Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria – have not joined the pact, saying that it impeded their sovereignty.

The GCM is described as the first intergovernmentally negotiated treaty, geared towards addressing all aspects of international migration. After mass waves of unchecked migration from the Middle East and Africa to Europe in recent years, the GCM’s primary objective is to improve the governance on migration, to address the challenges associated with it, and to “strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development.”

An intergovernmental conference on international migration is slated to take place in Morocco in December 2018 with a view to adopting the Global Compact. Israel will not attend.

Israel’s migration challenge

In recent years, Israel has contended with mass migration from Africa. While some claim they were fleeing conflict, the majority are economic migrants.

Between 2005 and 2013, around 60,000 migrants illegally entered Israel, primarily from Somalia, Sudan, and Eritrea. The crush of migrants was eventually thwarted by the construction of a 152-mile long security fence, covering all of the Israeli-Egyptian border.

After the barrier was completed, Israel enjoyed a huge reduction in illegal crossings, reporting no infiltration at all last year.

“We are talking about a Jewish and democratic state but how could we assure a Jewish and democratic state with 50,000 and then 100,000 and 150,000 migrants a year? After a million, 1.5 million, one could close up shop. But we have not closed down. We built a fence, and at the same time, with concern for security needs, we are making a major investment in infrastructures,” Netanyahu commented in March.