• Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has visited a rundown Tel Aviv neighbourhood with a large African population and pledged to rid it of illegal immigrants.
Source:
AFP - SBS Wires
1 Sep - 8:02 AM  UPDATED 1 Sep - 8:55 AM

His tour came after a supreme court decision on Monday ruled that the state cannot indefinitely detain illegal migrants who refuse to be deported to unnamed third countries.

"We will return south Tel Aviv to the citizens of Israel," he said on the televised trip.

"We are dealing with illegal infiltrators, not with refugees, but illegal infiltrators. And Israel's right is to safeguard its borders and to keep away illegal infiltrators," he said.

Tens of thousands of Africans -- mainly Eritrean and Sudanese -- have entered Israel in recent years, mainly by illegally crossing the desert border from neighbouring Egypt.

Some came for work and others for asylum from harsh regimes in their home countries.

Recommended reading
Israeli MP prays at flashpoint Jerusalem holy site
Israeli lawmaker Yehuda Glick, shot in 2014 over his campaign for Jewish prayer at an ultra-sensitive Jerusalem holy site, visited it during a one-day break in a government ban.
Israel's defence minister slams West Bank settlements
Israel's Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman denounced unauthorised Jewish outposts in the West Bank on Tuesday, a day after the prime minister vowed not to uproot settlements in the territory.

Israel has granted refugee status to only a handful and has a long backlog of applicants.

With many unwilling or afraid to return to their homelands, Israel has reached secret agreements with other unnamed African states to take them in -- but these insist the migrants must agree to go.

According to local media, the Israeli authorities indefinitely detain the migrants if they refuse to leave.

The supreme court ruled this week that detention could not exceed two months.

A court transcript seen by AFP said: "It was decided unanimously that there is no obstacle in principle to removing infiltrators to a third country."

But "the infiltrators' lack of consent to be removed to a third country cannot be seen as refusal to cooperate with expulsion for which they can be detained for more than 60 days".

Recommended reading
World's oldest man and Holocaust survivor dies in Israel aged 113
A Holocaust survivor recognised as the world's oldest man has died in Israel aged 113 years and 330 days.