Netanyahu Seeks to Override Court, Reopen Migrant Detention Centers

YERUSHALAYIM -

Just hours after state attorneys notified the High Court that the program of deportation of African migrants had been abandoned after efforts to secure a safe third country had fallen through, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he intends to pass legislation to reopen asylum seeker detention centers, overriding court rulings.

“After several third-party countries refused to receive the infiltrators according to the conditions Israel demanded, I decided, together with Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri, to immediately prepare to re-open jail facilities for infiltrators, to advance [legislation to override the High Court] so that we can operate [the prisons], and to advance other means for solving this problem,” the prime minister said in a tweet on Tuesday evening.

The Court had given the state an ultimatum which said that if a third country agreement could not be obtained, detainees must be released. It is that ruling which PM Netanyahu seeks to override.

The wording of the statement to the High Court earlier in the day indicated that the government had not permanently given up on deportations:

“At this stage there is no possibility of involuntary deportation to a third country,” the statement read. It further noted that since last Wednesday “the hearings have been suspended in accordance with the deportation procedure, and accordingly, no further decisions regarding removal to a third country will be made at this time.”

While opposition MKs welcomed the collapse of the deportation program, Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett said he “welcomed” the prime minister’s plan to reopen the detention centers.