Al Jazeera reports that Israel’s cabinet has voted to create a detention center in the Negev desert to house thousands of illegal immigrants who arrive each year, mostly from Africa.
Israeli officials have not said how many migrants already in Israel would be sent to the facility, which is expected to be built at or near the site of a former prison camp for Palestinians.
“We aren’t jailing or distancing them,” [Eyal] Gabai [the director-general of Netanyahu’s office] said. “They can have a good time, eat and drink. Not everyone who arrives in Israel must be allowed to work here.”
“Coming up with an asylum and immigration policy may mean having to absorb tens of thousands of non-Jewish refugees, threatening the character of the Jewish state”
He said Israel was seeking to avoid “unreasonable action” such as deporting migrants, which could put their lives in danger.
“This is a huge issue here and one that is getting bigger month by month,” Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros, reporting from Jerusalem, said.
“On one hand, [Israel] can’t be sending refugees and asylum seekers back because of their legal obligations under international conventions.
“On the other hand, coming up with an asylum and immigration policy may mean having to absorb tens of thousands of these non-Jewish refugees, threatening the Jewish character of the state.”