Israel begins African migrant manhunt for swift deportation
Israeli officials have begun forcibly rounding up immigrants from South Sudan and the Côte d'Ivoire in order to start deporting them on Sunday.
The Israeli Population and Migration Authority stated yesterday that a total of 213 people had been arrested between Sunday and Tuesday, with 105 of the arrests affecting immigrants from South Sudan.
Many were detained following raids on their homes, but eyewitnesses in the southern town of Eilat told reporters that they had seen officials stopping African pedestrians in the street and demanding to see their IDs.
Branded “Operation Returning Home,” officials stated that for one week they will offer 1,000 euros and the cost of their airline ticket for each adult who agrees to leave Israel with any children they may have.
Those who refuse will be interned in a detention centre in the Negev desert until they can be forcibly deported.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai stated Tuesday that the next stage of deportations will focus on immigrants from Sudan and Eritrea, who number around 50,000.
As Israel accelerates the building of detention centres to house those it considers illegal immigrants, the Defense Ministry has stated that it intends to erect 20,000-25,000 tents comprising a 4.5-square-meter space for each person.
The campaign to drive African immigrants out of cities, such as Tel Aviv, is seen as a response to recent waves of violent anti-immigration demonstrations.