Netanyahu’s About-Face on African Asylum-Seekers Leaves Tens of Thousands in Limbo

Netanyahu’s About-Face on African Asylum-Seekers Leaves Tens of Thousands in Limbo
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Rwandan President Paul Kagame arrive at the Kigali Memorial Center, Kigali, Rwanda, July 6, 2016 (AP photo).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.

It was a tumultuous week for tens of thousands of African asylum-seekers in Israel, though it ultimately produced no clarity on whether some or all of them might be permitted to stay in the country and where they might go if they’re kicked out.

On Monday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that his government and the United Nations refugee agency had reached an “unprecedented understanding” by which more than 16,000 of the African asylum-seekers, many of whom are from Eritrea and Sudan, would be resettled in Western countries. This represented roughly half the total currently being hosted by Israel, and the deal called for Netanyahu’s government to allow the remainder to stay.

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