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Israel says it will deport thousands of South Sudan refugees

Since they now have their own country, they are no longer protected, Interior Ministry says.

south sudan israel refugeesEnlarge
A man wearing a headress dances as Sudanese refugees living in Tel Aviv celebrate independence from the Republic of Sudan on July 10, 2011 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel recognizes the Republic of South Sudan as independent state. South Sudan became a state on July 9 after it separated from the north, with its capital in Juba, following a vote for independence. The country was recognized on July 8 by the government of Sudan. (Uriel Sinai/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel's Interior Ministry said on Tuesday that it will deport thousands of South Sudanese now that they have their own country, according to the Associated Press. South Sudan became independent on July 9, 2011.

Haaretz reported that an estimated 7,000 South Sudanese live in Israel. Some entered legally, but others crossed illegally over the southern border with Egypt and Gaza.

More from GlobalPost: Sudan News: Khartoum regime keeps squeezing South Sudan

Israeli news website YNet noted that South Sudan's per capita wealth was 0.016 percent that of Israel's: roughly $30,000 per person, per year versus roughly $500.

The Israeli government is offering South Sudanese $1,300 if they leave before April 1, after which point they will be deported forcibly.

More from GlobalPost: Sudan on edge as independence vote approaches 

Israel's Supreme Court has taken up the issue of the repatriation of refugees before. In 2009 it questioned the legality of its "hot return" policy which quickly turned around refugees that had not been in the country for 24 hours. The court said this may be a violation of United Nations human rights compacts, according to Haaretz. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/120131/israel-says-it-will-deport-south-sudan-refugees