Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a press conference, December 3, 2017.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an about-face on Monday night and suspended the “unprecedented agreement” he had reached just hours before with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over the transfer of some 16,000-plus African infiltrators to European nations.

Netanyahu posted the reasoning for the move in a letter to the public on his Facebook page, including a pointed comment noting that huge pressure from the New Israel Fund on Rwanda had ultimately destroyed the African option which had initially been arranged in the first place.


“Dear friends, I am attentive to you as always.

First, I ask you to understand the sequence of events:

Over the past two years I have been working with Rwanda so that it will serve as a “third country” that would absorb the infiltrators who are to be deported without their consent. This is the only legal way for us to remove infiltrators without their consent, after the rest of our options have been legally disqualified. Rwanda agreed to this and began the deportation operation.

In recent weeks, with tremendous pressure on Rwanda by the New Israel Fund and elements in the European Union, Rwanda has withdrawn from the agreement and has refused to absorb infiltrators from Israel who were forcibly deported.

In this situation, I decided to strive for a new agreement that would still allow the continued removal of the infiltrators.

However, I am attentive to you, first and foremost to the residents of South Tel Aviv. Therefore, I decided to meet with Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, and with representatives of the residents tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, I am suspending the implementation of the agreement, and after I meet with the representatives, I will bring the agreement to a new examination.”

Netanyahu has been the target of criticism from one end of the spectrum to the other despite having made unceasing efforts to solve a problem that seems to have no reasonable, let alone popular solution. Each option proposed by consultants, committees and others in the process has been shot down by one party or another — without offering any alternative.

The latest such detractor was Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who while offering a left-handed compliment to the prime minister on his decision to suspend the latest decision, said, “The delay is not enough, we have to move to a new outline that will move the illegal infiltrators out of Israel.” However, Bennett offers no effective plan on how to accomplish that task; nor does he provide any solution to the current problem of what to do with the infiltrators in the meantime.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.