Israel squash African asylum seeker agreement

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he suspends a landmark agreement with the UN to resettle African asylum seekers hours after he first announced the deal.

The resettlement deal was supposed to cancel a government plan to deport from Israel thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers and instead resettle half of them in Western countries and allow the others to remain in Israel.

The announcement on the agreement with the United Nations Refugee Agency triggered harsh criticism by ultra-nationalist activists, who demanded to deport all of the asylum seekers, and top cabinet ministers, who said they were not consulted about the deal in advance. About seven hours after Netanyahu lauded the agreement as a “good deal” in a televised press conference, he said the deal is “suspended.”

In a post on his Facebook page, Netanyahu said that he and Interior Minister Arieh Deri would meet with “representatives of southern Tel Aviv” on Tuesday, where most of the asylum seekers are located.

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