Wednesday 28 September 2016

Israel says migrant tragedy is proof it was right to seal African border

Allyn Fisher-Ilan

Published 20/04/2015 | 17:49

A rescuer cradles a child in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy, early Monday (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
A rescuer cradles a child in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy, early Monday (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Israel believes the drowning of hundreds of Africans off Libya's coast validates its own policy of enforcing land barriers with Africa.

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Transport Minister Yisrael Katz said the deaths in the Mediterranean were a "tragedy that shocks all humanity" but one that showcased Europe's difficulties in controlling its borders.

Read More: Merkel: We must do more to prevent migrants perishing on our doorsteps

"Look at how correct the (Israeli) government's policy was to build a fence along the border with Egypt to block the way to labour migrants from Africa from reaching Israel," Katz, added in a post written on his Facebook page.

Since 2012, Israel has reinforced a border fence with Egypt, its land bridge with Africa.

The wall, Mr Katz claims, has largely curtailed the flow of migrants into the country over the past decade.

Read More: Mediterranean migrant boat tragedy: Death toll could rise to 950

Over the past three years, Israel has jailed hundreds of African migrants, many of them having fled from troubled Eritrea and Sudan.

Those who make it across the border are held in a desert detention centre until their status can be decided on.

Human rights groups have often accused Israel of denying most Africans residency, shunning them as "infiltrators" seeking jobs rather than refuge.

The Israel–Egypt border fence is 245 miles in length Credit: Baz Ratner
The Israel–Egypt border fence is 245 miles in length Credit: Baz Ratner

Reuters

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