The Israeli government began rounding up African migrants on Sunday, according to Haaretz. An Israeli court upheld on Thursday the planned deportation of South Sudanese deemed to have entered Israel illegally, though the government pledges a broader crackdown of African migrants.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai said the round-up will continue until Israel is migrant-free. The government has also increased penalties for Israeli business owners who employ illegal immigrants, up from a two year sentence to up to five years in jail.
In response, a few Israelis joined migrants to protest the new laws, chanting ”We are refugees, we are human beings” and “Sudanese aren’t cancer.”
Many international observers have said that the deportation of the South Sudanese immigrants are a violation of international law since international law prohibits a state from expelling foreign nationals if returning them to their home country presents a clear and immediate danger to their lives.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry disagreed with that notion in its opinion, which states, ”The international law does not oblige giving migrants shelter for socioeconomic reasons, unless the socio-economic situation in the receiving state is so bad it would endanger the asylum seeker’s life, or could be described as cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”