Amid the controversy surrounding the Israeli plans to deport thousands of African refugees and asylum seekers, Israeli officials are insisting that the deal with Uganda is still relevant and that the state plans to argue this at the Israeli Supreme Court.

Anti-deportation activists

Anti-deportation activists Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90

The State of Israel plans to tell the Israeli Supreme Court later this week that the deal to expel thousands of African refugees and asylum seekers to Uganda is still intact, Hadashot news said in a report on Sunday. An Israeli government official is currently in Kampala and reportedly speaking with Uganda’s government about the deal.

Senior Israeli Interior Ministry officials also told Hadashot news that the state is planning to tell the court that Uganda is a safe and secure place for the refugees and asylum seekers. According to the sources, the deal has not been scrapped, even though Kampala officials have denied the existence of an agreement.

Last week, Uganda’s foreign minister stated that his country does not plan to accept the refugees that Israel wants to deport, a statement similar to the Rwandese government’s claims. “We don’t have any contract or understanding, formal or informal, with Israel regarding the migrant matter,” Henry Okello Oryem stated, adding that if refugees arrive in his country, they will be deported back to the country from which they came.

On Tuesday, Rwanda denied that it had signed an agreement with Israel to accept thousands of African refugees in forced deportations. The statement came a few hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that the African nation had pulled out of a deal due to pressure from the New Israel Fund.