Thousands of African migrants in Israel will be resettled in several Western countries including Canada, Germany and Italy under a new agreement reached with the UN refugee agency, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday.
“This agreement will allow for the departure from Israel of 16,250 migrants to developed countries, such as Canada, Germany and Italy,” Netanyahu said.
He made the announcement in televised remarks after the government said it had scrapped a controversial plan to deport African migrants and replaced it with a new one that would see thousands sent to Western countries.
Netanyahu said the earlier plan to deport migrants to Rwanda and Uganda was no longer feasible.
Speaking at a press conference alongside Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Netanyahu stressed that “legal constraints as well as political difficulties on the part of [Uganda and Rwanda]” led to the cancellation of previous deportation policies.
Under the agreement, the asylum seekers who remain in Israel will be dispersed in areas across the country outside of south Tel Aviv, where a majority of them currently reside. Netanyahu vowed to prioritize rehabilitating the neighborhoods of south Tel Aviv, alongside implementing the international agreement.
He said that his policies over the years, including the construction of a fence along the Egyptian border, had prevented an outcome in which close to a million migrants would inundate Israel and “endanger its Jewish and democratic…