Israel says migrant tragedy is proof it was right to seal African border
Published 20/04/2015 | 17:49
Israel believes the drowning of hundreds of Africans off Libya's coast validates its own policy of enforcing land barriers with Africa.
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.
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"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.
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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.