The Israel Prison Service has announced that the detention facility in the south of Israel now holds 3,360 asylum seekers, with the possibility of delaying or canceling summons to Holot now being checked.

The Holot detention facility on Tuesday reached full capacity for the first time since its establishment.

The Israel Prison Service announced that the facility now holds 3,360 asylum seekers and that it cannot take any more in. According to the IPS, the Population Immigration Border Authority (PIBA) will have to decide what to do with asylum seekers who have already been summoned to the facility.

Holot detention facility (Photo: Reuters)
Holot detention facility (Photo: Reuters)


Currently it is unclear what will happen to the hundreds of asylum seekers who have been summoned in recent months, with the possibility that PIBA will be forced to delay or cancel pending arrivals to Holot.

At the start of the month Ynet published that former Interior Minister Silvan Shalom had been working to expand the facility, which was originally built with the option to increase in size. However, since then no decisions have been made or plans put in action to implement the initiative.

Another possibility being considered is the setting up of another detention facility.

Last month the Interior Ministry published an amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration Law, after the Supreme Court in August rejected parts of a previous amendment for the third time.

The new amendment stipulates, among other things, that the longest period of time an asylum seeker or migrant who is already in Israel can spend in detention is 12 months, with the option to extend to 18 months in exceptional circumstances.

This new rule was set out despite the Supreme Court’s call to shorten detention periods, even ordering a temporary restriction to 12 months.

Following the court’s ruling, the state was ordered to release 1,200 out of 1,800 asylum seekers being held at the facility. Most of the asylum seekers now being held in Holot arrived over the last few months, during which PIBA increased its rate of summons.

According to PIBA’s statistics, 47,000 asylum seekers are currently staying in Israel, most of whom are citizens of Eritrea and Sudan. Israel is prevented from deporting Eritreans and Sudanese back to their countries of origin due to its obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention.

As reported by Ynetnews