African immigrants demand their rights during a march in Tel Aviv last month.(Ryan Rodrick Beiler)
Israel has announced it plans to deport thousands of refugees from South Sudan. The reasoning behind the move suggests it could be a rehearsal for the expulsion of Palestinian citizens of Israel if an independent Palestinian state is ever established.
Israel’s Interior Ministry says thousands of people from South Sudan must leave or face deportation.
Spokeswoman Sabine Haddad says since the Southern Sudanese have an independent state, they will no longer be given protected status in Israel. The country gained independence from Sudan in July.
Some 7,000 South Sudanese are believed to be in Israel, part of a larger influx of African migrants who have poured into the country in recent years. Some are refugees, while others are seeking employment.
The report also says that the refugees “will be offered voluntary deportation and around $1,300.”
Ominous sign for Palestinians in Israel
This is bad enough for refugees from South Sudan – who whether or not they now have an independent state – come from a country still torn by war and violence.
But Israeli leaders have already hinted that they could use the same type of logic to justify removal of Palestinian citizens of Israel if a nominally independent Palestinian state is established on scraps of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian state to be established will not be a solution just for the Palestinians who live in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]. It is designed to provide a comprehensive national solution - for those living in Judea and Samaria, and the refugees camps, and even for the [Arab] citizens of Israel.
Livni, often misrepresented as a “dovish” figure, has been consistent in her desire to get rid of Palestinian citizens of Israel in order to maintain Jewish ethnic purity, so much so, that even former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was shocked by Livni’s extreme views.
During Palestinian-Israeli negotiations in 2008, the Palestine Papers revealed, Livni was one of the foremost proponents of transferring areas populated by Palestinians from within Israel to the putative Palestinian state.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and other Israeli politicians openly advocate various kinds of “transfer” schemes.
Paying for “voluntary” transfer
Nor is the notion of paying people to leave “voluntarily” a new one. Israeli far-right leaders have long advocated paying Palestinians to leave – or making life so hard for them they have no choice but to do so – a phenomenon they call “voluntary transfer.” Moledet and other Israeli parties that have been part of, or supported the government, have long advocated this approach.
Last year the Israeli government announced it was even willing to pay third countries to take unwanted Africans off its hands.
Partition leads to ethnic cleansing
The prediction that Israel would use any kind of Palestinian “state” as a dumping ground for unwanted populations is by no means far-fetched. In a paper in the journal Ethnopolitics last year, I explained how a “two-state solution” would be more likely to lead to further ethnic cleansing of Palestinians than to peace.
More warning signs, in the just announced expulsion of the South Sudanese refugees, are there.