The reversal comes barely a day after Netanyahu announced the landmark agreement, which would have relocated roughly half of the 35,000 Eritrean and Sudanese migrants in the country to Europe, Canada, and the United States. The rest would have been granted legal residency and provided with job opportunities in Israel. Netanyahu said in a Facebook post today his administration will continue “looking for more solutions.”

The decision to freeze the deal also dampens the expectations of the migrants who hoped their problems would be over. In Israel, officials have labeled them “infiltrators,” arrested them, denied them work permits, and promised to deport them by April 1 if they refused to sign up for the expulsion program.

Even those who took on the “voluntary departure” agreement and went to the East African nations continued to face extortion, threats, imprisonment, and death.

A coalition of human rights groups, including Amnesty International-Israel, said authorities were “playing political games on the backs of the weakest populations,” adding that Israel “has proven once again that it does not serve the interests of its citizens, including the residents of South Tel Aviv, neither any moral, legal or international commitments.”

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