After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused a left-wing Israeli NGO of pressuring Rwanda to pull out of a deal to deport African asylum seekers, Rwanda’s foreign ministry responded that it was surprised by the assumption that an Israeli NGO would be able to impose pressure on the Rwandan government.

Asylum seekers protesting in Israel

Asylum seekers protesting in Israel Photo Credit: Kobi Richter/TPS

Rwanda has denied being pressured by a left-wing Israeli NGO to drop an alleged deal to accept deported African asylum seekers. The statement came after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu accused the New Israel Fund of destroying an original deportation plan that was halted by the Israeli Supreme Court.

“I am extremely surprised by this statement,” said Rwanda’s deputy foreign minister, Olivier Nduhungirehe, in a tweet on Wednesday. “My surprise comes less from the fact that Rwanda doesn’t even know what this New Israel Fund is all about, but more from the assumption that a foreign NGO can successfully impose any pressure on a sovereign government named Rwanda.”

On Tuesday, Rwanda once again denied that it had signed an agreement with Israel to accept thousands of African refugees in forced deportations and was quickly joined by Uganda, which announced that it does not plan to accept the refugees that Israel wants to deport. 

As previously reported by JOL, the UN was surprised by Netanyahu’s recent decision to cancel the deal with the international body that would have seen to the resettlement of some 16,000 African asylum seekers to Western nations. The prime minister announced the cancellation after facing backlash on social media and from members of his government.