Apr 2, 2018

Israel suspends resettlement deal with U.N. on African migrants

Hundreds of African asylum seekers at a protest in Jerusalem last year against Israel's deportation policy. Photo: GALI TIBBON / AFP / Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a dramatic move on Monday said he's suspending a new agreement with the U.N. announced just hours earlier, which would have resettled thousands of migrants in Western countries over five years and granted legal status to those remaining in Israel.

What's happening: Local reports said the backtrack comes amid right-wing criticism of the deal. In a Facebook post, Netanyahu said: "I am attentive to you, and first to the people of South Tel Aviv," adding that he's meeting with officials Tuesday on the matter.

The earlier plan: Netanyahu's office had previously announced an "unprecedented common understanding" with the U.N. to resettle at least 16,250 to unnamed Western countries. Netanyahu had given the migrants — who fled to escape war, economic hardship and persecution — until the end of March to leave or face jail time. They were also offered $3,500 and free airfare.

  • The deportation plan had sparked rebuke from liberal Israelis, Holocaust survivors and their American Jewish allies, and led Israel's Supreme Court last month to temporarily halt the deportation order.
  • Israel had been cracking down on the influx of African migrants, many of whom entered illegally from Sudan and Eritrea, generating racial and politically-charged debates over their future in the country. According to the U.N., there are more than 34,500 Eritreans and 7,700 Sudanese in Israel.
  • Per The New York Times, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had warned that the migrants would endanger Israel's “existence as a Jewish and democratic state."

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U.S.-led coalition in Iraq withdraws from 3rd base this month

A soldier stands guard at the Qayyarah airbase in southern Mosul on March 26. Photo: Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The United States-led coalition in Iraq withdrew from K-1 Air Base in the northern part of the country on Sunday, AP reports.

Why it matters: It's the third site that coalition forces have left this month as the U.S. gathers troops in Baghdad and at Ain al-Asad Air Base.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 679,977 — Total deaths: 31,734 — Total recoveries: 145,625.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 124,686 — Total deaths: 2,191 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: Trump announces new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but rules out quarantine enforcement. Per CDC, those residents should "refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days," with the exception of critical infrastructure industry workers.
  4. State updates: Alaska issues a stay-at-home order — New York tries to nearly triple hospital capacity in less than a month and moved presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters who backed Trump's initial handling of the virus balk at call for U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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The year of the protest meets the year of the lockdown

Hong Kong demonstrators protest a government ban on face masks in October. Photo by Laurel Chor/Getty Images

The year of the mass uprising has collided with the year of the coronavirus lockdown, leaving protest movements around the world stalled. 

The big picture: The enduring images of 2019 are of protest — from Hong Kong to Khartoum, across the Middle East and through much of Latin America. Seemingly overnight, though, social distancing has made such mass demonstrations almost unthinkable.

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