Israel on Monday suspended a deal with the United Nations to send some 16,000 African asylum seekers to Western countries, mere hours after it had announced the agreement.
The deal with the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) would have seen at least 16,250 of 37,000 migrants relocated to “Western countries” later identified as Germany, Canada and Italy. The remaining migrants would have been allowed to stay for up to five years.
But Netanyahu wrote in a message on his Facebook page on Monday evening that he would freeze the deal until further review, adding that his decision was in response to the agreement’s critics.
The deal’s announcement immediately sparked condemnation on social and mainstream media, with some critics accusing Netanyahu of caving into left-wing demands.
Several right-wing ministers in Netanyahu’s Cabinet also said they opposed the accord, adding that Netanyahu’s office had not told them about it before the agreement was announced.
Germany and Italy had also cast doubt on the deal after they separately said they were not aware of any relocation agreement.
Netanyahu’s office said the accord would replace a separate heavily criticized plan to deport the migrants to an unnamed African country.