Police are investigating the defacement of a government building where authorities deal with the deportation of illegal African migrants.
By Margot Dudkevitch, World Israel News
Police are investigating the defacement of the entrance to the Tel Aviv office of the Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA) over the weekend where unknown assailants threw red paint and left severed doll heads at the scene. An accompanied typewritten note said “their blood is on your hands” and ” this is just the beginning,” the Hadashot TV station reported.
Police are treating the investigation as “top priority.” A statement released by PIBA called it a “despicable act against government employees doing their jobs.”
The latest incident comes after a huge public outcry in Israel and abroad over the government’s decision to deport illegal African migrants and asylum seekers who will be given some funds and reportedly sent to Rwanda.
According to estimates, some 38,000 African migrants and asylum seekers currently reside in Israel. Data released by the Interior Ministry said some 72 percent are from Eritrea and 20 percent from Sudan, and they are believed to have crossed into Israel from Egypt between the years 2006 and 2012. Israel has since erected a fence along its border with Egypt to prevent further infiltration efforts.
Human rights groups and NGOs trying to assist the African migrants claim that among those slated to be deported are asylum seekers who are waiting to hear a decision on their fate from the authorities.
Last week, a number of Israeli pilots sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying they would refuse to fly the African migrants out of the country. A number of Holocaust survivors also expressed concern for the migrants’ fate and called on the prime minister to reverse the controversial deportation plan. On Friday, some 800 American Jewish religious officials signed a letter opposing the government’s decision. The letter said asylum seekers must be given a fair chance to file applications for refugee states and refrain from being deported to countries that cannot guarantee their safety.
Netanyahu: Campaign against gov’t decision ‘absurd’
Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu called the campaign calling to reverse the decision “absurd.”
“We added approximately 45 positions in order to expedite asylum requests. Genuine refugees and their families will remain in Israel. We have no obligation to allow illegal labor migrants who are not refugees to remain here. They will be sent to another country.”
International law and Israel’s High Court of Justice permits the government to send illegal labor migrants “beyond the borders of the State,” the prime minister added. He explained that the designated country to which the migrants are being sent has already absorbed 180,000 refugees under the supervision of the United Nations, which considers it to be one of the safest countries in Africa.
“This campaign is baseless and absurd, especially today,” Netanyahu stated.
In September, Netanyahu visited south Tel Aviv, where most of the illegal migrants live, together with Ministers Gilad Erdan and Miri Regev and Member of Knesset Amir Ohana, and they met with local residents. “I accompanied 72-year-old Sophia to the sixth floor of the building in which she lives, all of which is now, except for her, and if I am not mistaken, perhaps another tenant, inhabited by illegal infiltrators. … [S]he cannot go unescorted, and she goes back up at the end of the day with great difficulty,” Netanyahu said, referring to the significant increase in violent crime since the infiltration.
After the visit, Netanyahu announced the creation of “a special ministerial team” to meet with resident representatives in order “to advance practical solutions to this problem,” “to return these neighborhoods to the residents,” and “to remove [illegal infiltrators] from the State of Israel, as we have already removed some 20,000 illegal infiltrators, whose place is not here.”