Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Tuesday that Israel would not be joining the United Nations’ global migration pact, set to be signed next month in Marrakech, Morocco, by most of the world’s governments. The US is among several other countries that have also rejected the pact.
“I instructed the Foreign Ministry to announce that Israel won’t participate [in the Marrakech gathering] and won’t sign the migration pact,” Netanyahu said in a statement to the press.
“We have a duty to protect our borders against illegal infiltrators. That’s what we’ve done, and that’s what we will continue to do,” the terse statement concluded.
In September 2016, all 193 UN member states, including the United States under former president Barack Obama, adopted a declaration saying no country can manage international migration on its own, and agreed to launch a process leading to the adoption of a global compact in 2018.
The declaration followed vast waves of migrants fleeing in recent years from conflict and poverty in the Middle East and Africa to Europe and the West.
Netanyahu’s Tuesday announcement was welcomed by fellow Likud lawmaker Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who said she had spoken with the prime minister about the issue yesterday.
She cited the new Jewish Nation-State Law, which she said required the government “to stand up for a clear migration policy that protects our borders from illegal infiltrators.”