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Eritrea’s President slams Israel’s migrant deportation plan

Says asylum seekers paid ‘high price’ to human traffickers to reach Israel and ‘deserve’ far more than $3,500 being offered, ‘like $50,000.’

President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea yesterday criticized Israel’s plan to deport tens of thousands of African migrants, saying they “deserve” far more than the $3,500 Israel is offering them to leave.

A law passed last week will enable the government to deport illegal immigrants who have in the past refused to self-deport in exchange for $3,500 in cash. The bill also granted a limited three-month extension for the operation of the Hulot detention center, effectively establishing a deadline for deporting those infiltrators now detained at Hulot.

In an interview posted on a government website, Afwerki said migrants from his country and Sudan paid a “high price” to human traffickers to reach Israel and “deserve” more like $50,000.

“They need fair compensation to start a new life in their home country,” Afwerki said, explaining that all those who wish to return home “have every right to do so,” and that Eritrea offered to register all of its roughly 20,000 migrants but Israeli authorities refused.

There are approximately 38,000 African migrants and asylum seekers in Israel, according to the Interior Ministry. About 72% are Eritrean and 20% are Sudanese.

Israel intends to bring about the comprehensive departure of infiltrators to a third-party state.

Some 15,000 infiltrators self-deported since 2014, though some 40,000 – not including children born to illegal immigrants in Israel – remain in the country.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Shegitu Dadi

    February 3, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    Hi there!

    Isaias forced citizens out of the country he controls under iron fist for the last twenty seven years and now wants big money in exchange to take them back?

    It’s funny how he said it:

    ” . . . Migrants from his country and Sudan paid a “high price” to human traffickers to reach Israel and “deserve” more like $50,000.”
    There is some kind of an admission that some of the money paid to traffickers was made in the country Isaias controls. It is subtle but it is implied in his remark.

    It is not $50,000 the refugees “deserve”; it is a lot more. It is to stay in Israel or settle in a free continent like Europe or North America. Everybody knows what waits for them if they return.

    By the way, who’s to get the money if the refugees return to Eritrea? Reliable reports show Isaias collects tax from Eritrean expatriates using its embassies. Some countries have banned such practice because of coercion and use of illicit means.

    Given Isaias’ practice of tax collection abroad, it is safe to assume that he will not allow the returnees to get the money. The price tag of $50,000 for each refugee is his indirect offer to Israel. His offer to register the refugees was not without reason. It is like he was saying “pay me $50 000 on each refugee if you want to get rid of them; I will get my cut from the money and they will get theirs.”

    In fact, it is unlikely that returnees will see a dime from the money because what’s awaiting them is prison. If they have connections they might be sent to Sawa for indefinite number of years. Sawa is another prison in which people languish for years.

    Luckily, Israel has declined Isaias’ subtle offer. If Isias was to take back 20 000 he wanted to register, $50 000 on each of them would have been a whopping sum – $ 100 000 000 (hundred million (trillions of ERN, 1 USD =15.0000ERN today). This is enough to cover Eritrea’s budget for 21-years calculated on the basis of its 2017 budget.

    Not long ago, Rwanda and Uganda were said to have reaching a deal with Israel to accept these refugees which they have denied. Israel is now faced with either to detain them indefinitely in camps which will cost her lots of money or reach a deal with Isaias. If the cost is more than Isias’s offer of $ 100 000 000, they might seriously consider the offer.

    If the refugees find Israeli camps unbearable or Israel seriously considers Isaias’ offer due to cost or other reasons but the refugees do not want to return to Eritrea, Ethiopia should let them settle in the country on humanitarian grounds. After all, there are hundreds of thousands of Eritreans already living in Ethiopia. Some are studying while others are working. Some are waiting to travel abroad via family reunion or resettlement schemes. Overall, it appears they are doing fine.

    Ethiopia should not receive any money from Israel in exchange for the humanitarian gesture; Eritrean refugees should be allowed to keep the money Israel gives them to themselves.

    I think Ethiopia should make this gesture even without waiting for the demand.

    Good luck! Folks

  2. Shegitu Dadi

    February 4, 2018 at 10:10 am

    Hi there!

    Isaias forced citizens out of the country he controls under iron fist for the last twenty seven years and now wants big money in exchange to take them back?

    It’s funny how he said it:

    ” . . . Migrants from his country and Sudan paid a “high price” to human traffickers to reach Israel and “deserve” more like $50,000.”

    There is some kind of an admission that some of the money paid to traffickers was made in the country Isaias controls. It is subtle but it is implied in his remark.

    It is not $50,000 the refugees “deserve”; it is a lot more. It is to stay in Israel or settle in a free continent like Europe or North America. Everybody knows what waits for them if they return.

    By the way, who’s to get the money if the refugees return to Eritrea? Reliable reports show Isaias collects tax from Eritrean expatriates using its embassies. Some countries have banned such practice because of coercion and use of illicit means.

    Given Isaias’ practice of tax collection abroad, it is safe to assume that he will not allow the returnees to get the money. The price tag of $50,000 for each refugee is his indirect offer to Israel. His offer to register the refugees was not without reason. It is like he was saying “pay me $50 000 on each refugee if you want to get rid of them; I will get my cut from the money and they will get theirs.”

    In fact, it is unlikely that returnees will see a dime from the money because what’s awaiting them is prison. If they have connections they might be sent to Sawa for indefinite number of years. Sawa is another prison in which people languish for years.

    Luckily, Israel has declined Isaias’ subtle offer. If Isias was to take back 20 000 he wanted to register, $50 000 on each of them would have been a whopping sum – $ 100 000 000 (hundred million (trillions of ERN, 1 USD =15.0000ERN today). This is enough to cover Eritrea’s budget for 21-years calculated on the basis of its 2017 budget.

    Not long ago, Rwanda and Uganda were said to have reaching a deal with Israel to accept these refugees which they have denied. Israel is now faced with either to detain them indefinitely in camps which will cost her lots of money or reach a deal with Isaias. If the cost is more than Isias’s offer of $ 100 000 000, they might seriously consider the offer.

    If the refugees find Israeli camps unbearable or Israel seriously considers Isaias’ offer due to cost or other reasons but the refugees do not want to return to Eritrea, Ethiopia should let them settle in the country on humanitarian grounds. After all, there are hundreds of thousands of Eritreans already living in Ethiopia. Some are studying while others are working. Some are waiting to travel abroad via family reunion or resettlement schemes. Overall, it appears they are doing fine.

    Ethiopia should not receive any money from Israel in exchange for the humanitarian gesture; Eritrean refugees should be allowed to keep the money Israel gives them to themselves.

    I think Ethiopia should make this gesture even without waiting for the demand.

  3. Hadgu Berhe

    February 4, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    I agree with you that Ethiopia should step in and offer sanctuary to Eritrean refugees in Israel if they do not want to return to Eritrea.

    It is sad that Ethiopia is playing it “blind” while Eritreans are suffering in Israel. No doubt that Israel wants them to leave or else go to detention camps and live in horrible situation.

    Some of these refugees were Ethiopians themselves until twenty five years ago when they lost it to the newly “independent” state of Eritrea due to the infamous referendum. I guess most of them are younger than twenty five; even if they are in that age group, their parents were Ethiopians. This generation has not participated in the referendum and rejected Ethiopia thought they still want their country sovereign.

    Historical connection these refugees had with Ethiopia should means something to Ethiopians and their government to extend support. Ethiopia should act proactively on the matter future relations of the countries and the peoples in mind. Isaias and his government are not the future.

    At the same time, it won’t be a bad idea to deprive Isaias of 100 000 000 (hundred million dollars).

    • Derje Andualem

      February 6, 2018 at 4:17 am

      I just wonder a bunch of agames are inviting Eritreans and comment about Eritrean refugees.Ugum you have your own glaring problems solve them before you get solved.

  4. nahom

    February 5, 2018 at 10:31 am

    hadgu, Shabia eritreans should be stopped being eternal parasite on Ethiopia. They should go back to their ‘country’ and get rid off their own cruel dictator as currently Ethiopians do.

  5. Shegitu Dadi

    February 6, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    Hadgu B.,

    It is not only “historical connection the refugees have with Ethiopia”; half of them are actually Ethiopians themselves.

    Not long ago, Yemane Gebreab, adviser to Mr. I. Afewerki has said “a third of refugee claimants who declare themselves as Eritreans are … Ethiopians”.

    I don’t know where Yemane Gebreab got the number (i.e. a third), but it might be true. It is not uncommon for Ethiopians to present themselves as Eritreans to obtain refugee status because being an Eritrean gives more advantage than being Ethiopian in refugee claims.

    Assuming Yemane Gebreab’s claim is correct, about 7 000 of the 20 000 refugees Israel wants to deport are the ones who presneted themselves as Eritreans are Ethiopians.

    If Yemane Gebreab and Afeworki believe “a third of refugee claimants who declare themselves as Eritreans are … Ethiopians”, why does he want to bring them all to Eritrea?

    I guess it is the $ 50 000 per returnee Afeworki wanted for each returnee from Israel. 7 000 Ethiopians will add 35 000 000 (thirty five million) to his coffers.

    Once the Ethiopians are returned to Eritrea from Israel, they will be sripped off every thing including their closing and other personal belongings and forced across the border to Ethiopia.

    There is a catch here. They will be “forced across the border to Ethiopia” only if AG7 and TPDM do not want them. Indoctrination and
    forced recruitment as foot soldiers is a high possibility. 7 000 foot soldiers will definetly swell their number and allow them to conduct minor skirmishes for ESAT to report.

    From the start, I was wondering why the refugees Israel wants to deport
    are from Sudan and Eritrea. Of the 37 000 there is no single Ethiopian; that’s not real since there will be some Ethiopians who seek refuge as Ethiopians.

    Given the fact that Israel does not accept refugees from whichever country they are, it is fair to suspect that Israel has mixed
    Ethiopians and Eritreans and presented them as one lot from Eritrea.

    I think this is a worrying since it makes it easier for Israel to deport Ethiopians to Eritrea. Eritrea might know this secret but will not reject the Ethiopians because of the payment involved.

    So, is Ethiopia to ignore this secret to deport Ethiopians to Eritrea who might be used to destabilize the country while at the same time help fill Eritrea’s coffers with cash?

    I don’t think Ethiopia will let this is to happen.

    • Tesfa

      February 8, 2018 at 11:40 am

      Fools always align things with ethnicity and language to divide us for their own gain. Ethiopians and Eritreans are one people. “Half of them are Ethiopians”. Pretty moronic statement. Yes, if you use the EPLF and TPLF calculator none are Ethiopians. As the late PM Meles put it “The color of their eyes is the cause for deportation”. I submit to anyone who wildly pride themselves being 100% Ethiopian, Eritrean or whatever their claim is, you are not what you think you are. Pick up a DNA kit and check your linage. You will be amazed!
      President Isaias must understand, the cause of the Eritrean people’s suffering as well as their plight and flight is his government’s policy. To lament the treatment of the Eritreans by whites is to cry on a spilled milk. They do not care! One is defined by the color of their skin. I am pretty sure the president knows this clearly. So, instead of pointing our fingers on others, let us get our homeland in order and enjoy it with freedom and tranquility. As for the deportation of Eritrean’s out of Israel, Ethiopia should step in and take them all. After all, we are one and the same people.

  6. Debrework

    February 8, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    Hi There,

    Are you kidding me. It is over. Is that Ethiopia’s problem. We don’t need parasites. There are millions of Eritrean’s in our land already. Those who try to say some of the refuge in Israel are actually Ethiopian claiming they are Eritrean, why you guys need to worry about them? you are not Ethiopian all of you are Eritreans. Let me tel you, none of the refuge are Ethiopian. So, leave Ethiopia alone. Ethiopia forgot you long ago.

  7. Hi there

    February 9, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    Debrework,

    I’m not kidding you. Ethiopians in Israel to be deported to Eritrea because of money is Ethiopia’s concern. In fact, Ethiopia takes its citizens from all over Africa and the Middle East and even North America and Europe if they are unable to establish residence wherever they are.

    I was surprised Israel made no reference to Ethiopia and Ethiopians in this big number of people it wants to deport which made me suspecious that they might be presented as Eritreans and wrongly deported to Eritrea.

    Please check your facts before you jump on conclusions.

    Bye.

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