The High Court issued a temporary injunction for the state, ordering it to halt the deportation of Illegal African Infiltrators from Israel until it submits a response to a petition made to the court against the deportation. The state’s reply, the justices ruled, must be submitted by March 26.
For the last few months, the state has been issuing notices to large segments of the remaining 30,000 plus Illegal African Infiltrators in the country that they must accept $3,500 and deportation to a third country or they will be detained on April 1.
The court also said that Illegal African Infiltrators who truly want to leave voluntarily, and are not being coerced in any way, can still be deported.
Nearer to the state submitting its reply, the court ruled, it will be decided whether to extend the injunction. The Holot migrant detention center, meanwhile, was closed Wednesday.
Sheffi Paz, of the “South Tel Aviv Liberation Front,” however, attacked the High Court’s decision. She said, “This injunction has no legal basis. It was born only of the fear felt by High Court justices who have suddenly found themselves approving an deportation they never intended to approve because they placed a small landmine in their previous ruling that PM Netanyahu was able to defuse.
“South Tel Aviv residents scorn the justices and legal clerks, who fail to do their jobs. We don’t have one iota of trust in the legal system, and will, therefore, renew protests outside the home of Chief Justice Hayut in Tzahla, a (north Tel Aviv) neighborhood no infiltrator resides in.”
It has been widely reported that most Infiltrators are being deported to Rwanda, while Uganda has been mentioned as a secondary destination.
The Illegal Infiltrators, represented at the hearing by Avigdor Feldman and Itay Mack, have asked the High Court to reconsider its approval of the deportations because their rights are being systematically violated in Rwanda and Uganda.
The state’s lawyer on Monday said she was unable to answer virtually any questions about the status of the Infiltrators since the issue is classified for national security reasons, and can answer most questions only in a closed-door hearing without the Illegals’ lawyers present.
However, at one point, she let slip that there had been changes to Israel’s agreement with the destination states.
The broader debate about the Illegal Infiltrators addresses both how and why they arrived in Israel. Even though most Infiltrators crossed into Israel illegally from Egypt, international law requires protecting those who cannot return to their country of origin for fear of prosecution.
Both the UN and a special Israeli court for migrant issues have ruled essentially that Eritreans in Israel have, or at least likely have a right to refugee status, since they view Eritrea as a dangerous country. Some European countries have taken the opposite position and attempted, like Israel, to justify deporting Illegal African Infiltrators, arguing that they are only seeking better economic conditions – which is not grounds for refugee status.
The High Court’s verdict was handed down on a petition submitted six weeks ago by 119 human rights activists, in which they sought to freeze the agreement the government had reportedly signed with Rwanda regarding receiving Illegal Infiltrators deported from Israel.