The Israeli government signaled a possible softening of its position on the deportation of African “infiltrators,” informing the High Court of Justice that it was delaying the designated expulsion date from April 1 to April 9 at the earliest. The notification was included in a legal brief in which the state requested more time to respond to a previous demand by the court for clarification regarding the government’s policy. Many of the estimated 30,000 Africans currently living in Israel have received official notices explaining they must either accept a $3,500 stipend and be deported to a third country or else be detained on April 1. Jerusalem has been widely criticized for its move to expel the Africans, largely over concerns their human rights will be violated in the presumed end-destinations of Rwanda and Uganda. Even though most asylum-seekers crossed into Israel illegally from Egypt, international law requires the protection of those who cannot return to their homes for fear of persecution. The latest development comes amid reports that the Israeli government is seriously contemplating granting refugee status to some 1,500 Africans who fled the genocide in Darfur as well as mass killings in Sudan’s Nuba region.
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