Border Guard officers to help police battle growing violence between Israelis, African migrants, but activists, residents say move will 'create war-like atmosphere'-
Border Guard officers were expected to be deployed in south Tel Aviv on Monday to assist Israel Police in curbing the growing violence between foreign migrants and the area's Israeli residents, Ynet reported.
Last week Israel Police boosted its presence in south Tel Aviv following a violent demonstration during which Israelis attacked African migrants and clashed with security forces.
The Israeli residents were protesting against the government's handling of the constant flow of African migrants into their living area.
Officials said increased police presence in the area would reduce the crime level and enhance the residents' sense of personal security.
But City Councilman Shlomo Maslawi said increased police presence would not offer a comprehensive solution to the problem, while Orit Marom of the refugee aid organization ASSAF urged the government to allocate funds to improve the lives of south Tel Aviv's residents rather than "send security forces that will only create a war-like atmosphere.
"The government must legalize the status of asylum-seekers and grant them work permits and basic rights that would allow them to live in dignity in Israel," she said.
One resident told Ynet that sending more police to the area was akin to "giving an (aspirin) to someone who has a terminal disease."
"More police on the streets is good, but much more must be done to bring sanity back to our lives," another resident said.
Many Israelis, including ministers, attribute the growing violence in the country to the influx of African migrants.
In 2006 Border Guard officers were deployed in south Tel Aviv following a surge in violence. Israel Police hailed the move as a success, claiming the crime rate was reduced by 10-15%. However, the residents of south Tel Aviv and Jaffa said the presence of Border Guard officers only enhanced the sense of fear and led to more violence.
The past seven years have seen tens of thousand of Africans, most of them from Sudan and Eritrea, enter Israel in search of work and refuge. The migrants settled in mainly in south Tel Aviv, but also in Ashdod, Eilat Ashkelon and Arad.
Photos: South TA old central bus station-the most poverty and high crime rate area in Tel Aviv,Residents after the violent protest last week, Africans sleeping at Levinsky Park in South TA
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