UN warns Israel: Don’t deport illegal migrant rioters

The UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees warned that ‘any decision impacting Eritrean asylum-seekers would contravene international law.’

By World Israel News Staff

Following Saturday’s rioting by Eritrean migrants and clashes with police in which more than 200 people, including about 50 police officers were injured, the United Nations warned Israel against expelling the illegals.

“UNHCR calls for calm and restraint, and on all parties to refrain from taking any steps that could aggravate the situation further,” William Spindler, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, was quoted as saying.

While stressing the “importance to establish accountability,” Spindler warned Israel against taking broad measures against the Eritreans.

“Any decision impacting all Eritrean asylum-seekers…would contravene international law,” he told reporters.

Earlier in the day, MK Simcha Rothman of the Religious Zionist Party proposed a new law that would make it easier for the government to deport illegal immigrants who had overstayed their visas.

The bill called “Basic Law: Entry, immigration, and status in Israel,” would create strict guidelines for naturalization of residents of Israel who are not eligible to immigrate under the Law of Return, which automatically grants citizenship to Jews.”It provides a quota for the maximum number of people granted refugee status each year, and specifies that those who entered Israel illegally or overstayed the visas will be banned from ever receiving refugee status.

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The law also states that people without legal status in Israel can no longer petition the local courts to rule on whether or not they should be granted residency. However, an Israeli citizen or resident may file such a suit on their behalf.

In Saturday’s riots, Eritreans protesting the arrival of a delegation representing their current government caused millions of shekels of property damage to nearby businesses, smashing street-front facades and in some cases, looting local shops and restaurants.

Rioters were filmed attacking each other as well as police officers with rocks, wooden planks and metal objects. Some protestors were stabbed with knives in individual fights. Others were injured by gunfire, as the police resorted to live fire in places where they felt their lives were in danger and riot dispersal means such as stun grenades and tear gas weren’t working to quell the violence.

Police eventually were forced to use live fire to quell the protesters, marking the first time that security forces fired at demonstrators since 2000. At least 11 Eritreans suffered gunshot wounds.