Israel PM cancels refugee relocation agreement

Israel PM cancels refugee relocation agreement

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday he is cancelling Monday’s relocation agreement [JURIST] with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The agreement followed harsh criticism Israel received after the government approved [Al Jazeera report] a plan that would require asylum seekers to choose between imprisonment or deportation to Rwanda or Uganda.

The agreement presented by the UNHCR was an alternative solution to Israel’s migrant issue. The organization agreed to aid in the relocation of 16,250 migrants to various Western countries if Israel regulated [press release] the status of the remaining populations.

Though this plan was approved by the Attorney General and was consistent with international law, Netanyahu announced [Reuters] on Facebook that he was putting the implementation of the agreement on hold. Soon after this announcement, an official statement from the UNHCR was released:

It is with regret that UNHCR notes today’s cancellation by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Israel-UNHCR Agreement of 2nd April on solutions for Eritreans and Sudanese currently in Israel. … UNHCR continues to believe that a win-win agreement that would both benefit Israel and people needing asylum is in everyone’s best interests. And we encourage the Government of Israel to consider the matter further, while standing ready to be of help.

Netanyahu said he canceled the deal after weighing its advantages and disadvantages.