Stop the chatter. Lieberman
Photo: Avi Peretz
Givon Prison (Archives)
Photo: Reuters
Preparing for deportation
Photo: Kobi Gideon, GPO

Lieberman slams Yishai over 'deportation festival'

Foreign minister says public chatter surrounding deportation of South Sudanese served party's interest, led to international outcry. Meanwhile, 27 South Sudanese detainees launch hunger strike in protest of their incarceration

Foreign Minister vs. Interior Minister – Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman commented on the deportation of South Sudanese migrants to their homeland, saying "it's been a while since I have seen such damaging chatter surrounding the festival we witnessed yesterday."


Speaking at a Yisrael Beiteinu faction meeting, the party chairman said that "a number of people are sabotaging the Foreign Ministry's efforts to reach an agreed upon settlement to resolve the problem."


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Lieberman's comments referred to remarks made by Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who escorted the 127 migrants who boarded the first flight to South Sudan at Ben-Gurion Airport on Sunday, and emphasized that his goal is to return to Africa all 50,000 infiltrators – mainly from Eritrea and Sudan – whom Israel cannot deport.


השר ישי בנתב"ג. אינטרס לאומי? (צילום: מוטי קמחי)

Minister Yishai at airport. (Photo: Moti Kimhi)


"I heard someone spoke about Israel's national interest. There are many who sacrifice the national interest for the momentary interest of this or that party," Lieberman said tongue in cheek, adding that he cannot recall such "outcry coming from Israel's friends, including the United States, such as in this case."


Lieberman also leveled criticism at the Interior Ministry's conduct, stressing that "everything resolved thus far was thanks to the Foreign Ministry, and not anyone else. All this chatter creates the impression that it is impossible to return 90% of the infiltrators. Everything is erased instantaneously once you see a festival like we witnessed at the airport," he noted.


Referring to the scale of the campaign to deport illegal migrants, Lieberman said: "Since the campaign was launched, 504 additional infiltrators entered Israel, and just this morning 70 more arrived, while we removed 120. All the facilities that hold those infiltrators released 707 of them into Israel since the beginning of the month. I suggest that those who want to resolve the problem stop talking."


Hunger strike

Meanwhile, more than 20 South Sudanese citizens launched a hunger strike in Givon Prison to protest their incarceration. The Prison Service confirmed that 11 of them refused to eat dinner on Sunday, but claimed they were given breakfast on Monday as usual.


"מוכנים לעזוב מרצון" (ארכיון) (צילום: אליעד לוי)

'Willing to leave Israel.' (Archives picture)


Givon Prison is holding 27 South Sudanese residents who are slated for deportation. One of the detainees, a 32-year-old asylum seeker, told Ynet that "most of the hunger strikers expressed their willingness to leave Israel prior to their arrest and agreed to sign the voluntary departure forms, but were arrested regardless.


"We are demanding that all those detained are released immediately. This is our basic right. We want to leave Israel; we are not criminals and did not commit any crime, therefore there is no reason to keep us here," he said.


The Immigration Authority claimed that South Sudan nationals who signed the forms during their questioning were not detained, however those who refused to do so were transferred to a holding facility.


"We are in the process of issuing travel documents for all the detainees, with the aim of flying them back home as soon as possible. We assume that a detainee who was on his way to sign the voluntary departure forms would express his intention during his hearing, before it was decided to detain him, and not several days later through media outlets," the Immigration Authority stated.






פרסום ראשון: 06.18.12, 16:12
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