The State Attorney’s Office on Thursday said an ultimatum issued by Interior Minister Eli Yishai, to the effect that he would begin to incarcerate asylum seekers on October 15, had not gone through the appropriate legislative channels and did not represent the official policy of the government.
The statement was issued in response to a petition against Yishai’s proposed policy, filed earlier this month by a string of Israeli migrants’ rights organizations backed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). According to the prosecution, a petition at this point was unwarranted as the cabinet had yet to authorize the policy.
The October 15 petition to the Jerusalem District Court resulted in a preliminary injunction prohibiting the arrest of Sudanese nationals.
If Yishai’s policy of incarcerating asylum seekers is to be accepted, the State Attorney’s Office said, it would likely be publicly announced 30 days prior to its implementation by the population registry, which has yet to receive any operational directives pertaining to the incarceration of Sudanese migrants.
In interviews with the media, Yishai has stressed that one purpose of such detentions would be to make the lives of the Sudanese asylum seekers unbearable. “We will make their life in Israel hell so that they’ll wish to return to their countries of origin,” he said in August.
The petition stated that the Interior Ministry’s policy would result in thousands of Sudanese asylum seekers being hunted down, along with their children, arrested en masse, and detained indefinitely in extreme conditions in desert incarceration facilities.