In July, 268 people infiltrated Israel. Compared to previous years, this indicates a dramatic decline: In August 2010, 1,330 people illegally crossed the border into Israel, and in August 2011 – 2,000. In comparison to last year, the number of infiltrators has dropped by 90%.
- Activists: IDF enters Egypt to block migrants
- Over 100 south-Sudanese detained ahead of deportation
- Illegal migrants 'treated like animals'
Recently, foreign news agencies reported that Israel has been sending soldiers into Egypt's Sinai desert to stop African migrants before they reach the border and handing them over to Egyptian forces. A report issued by Amnesty International included a signed statement from an Israeli reserve soldier who said that his unit had been operating inside Sinai.
Following a petition filed to the High Court of Justice, Israel decided to stop sending troops into Sinai to intercept African migrants. The High Court condemned the practice, accepted the State's stand on discontinuing it and decided to strike the motion.
Security fence in the Israel-Egypt border (Photo: Yoav Zitun)
The Interior Ministry attributed the drop in the number of infiltrators to the completion of the security fence in the southern border. Nonetheless, many criticize the government regarding its policy toward the tens of thousands of immigrants and asylum seekers who are already in Israel, arguing it is disorganized ineffective.
Though the government set up tent camps in the south and is threatening to fine people who hire illegal immigrants, it has yet to come up with a solution for the tens of thousands of migrants residing in Israel who cannot be deported back to their home countries, where their lives are in danger.
Currently, some 65,000 asylum seekers are residing in Israel, most of whom – some 35,000 – from Eritrea.
AP contributed to this report
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