On Monday, April 2, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the cancelation of a controversial plan to deport thousands of African migrants from Israel. The decision comes after Israel reached an agreement with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to send 16,250 migrants to Western countries, including Canada, Italy, and Germany, while granting official status to the same number in Israel. Implementation of the plan will reportedly take place over a five-year period; under the agreement, some 6000 migrants are expected to leave Israel in the next 18 months.
On March 15, the Israeli Supreme Court suspended an earlier government plan to deport thousands of sub-Saharan African migrants from the country by April 1. Hundreds of sub-Saharan African migrants notably staged demonstrations protesting the proposed deportation plan outside of the Saharonim Penitentiary near Nitzana (Southern District) on February 22 and in Tel Aviv on February 24.
Some 40,000 sub-Saharan African migrants currently reside in Israel. Israeli authorities had offered the migrants USD 3500 and airfare to leave Israel voluntarily by the end of March.
Individuals in Israel are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and to adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
In general, due to the underlying terrorist threat, travelers in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip are advised to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities and to remain vigilant when visiting sites deemed particularly likely to be targeted in an attack (popular gatherings, public transportation, train stations, ports, airports, public or government buildings, embassies or consulates, international organizations, schools and universities, religious sites, markets, prominent hotels and restaurants, etc.). As a reminder, some Western governments advise their citizens against travel to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and areas near the Israeli-Lebanese, Israeli-Syrian, and Israeli-Egyptian borders.
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