This paper aims at examining the Israeli refugee law and practice through the lens of responsibility sharing. We will offer a critical analysis of the implementation of the Israeli asylum regime, showing the impact this regime has on responsibility sharing. We will also analyze the discourse on the issue of responsibility sharing, however limited in scope it is. This discussion emerges from an awareness of the fact that Israel is in a unique geopolitical situation, due to its proximity to Africa and being the only economically-stable democracy in the region. Israel is also embroiled in an ongoing conflict with its neighbors. However, when we essentialize these geopolitical considerations, we see that Israel is in fact in a similar situation to that of many other developed countries. Many countries, just like Israel, fear their democratic regimes and boosting economies might attract immigrants of different sorts, are troubled by security and global “terrorism-related” concerns, and attempt to minimize their share of global responsibility and contain refugees to the Global South. In this sense, the case of Israel is an interesting test case from which we can generalize conclusions on the attitudes and policies of Western countries about responsibility sharing.
We will begin our discussion of responsibility sharing with a general discussion of its moral foundation, in an attempt to explain the philosophical basis of the argument that responsibility for the refugees of the world should be shared. As we will elaborate, there are different philosophical justifications for sharing responsibility rather than allocating it arbitrarily. Following this discussion, we will present the current international law norms on responsibility sharing and show that they are relatively few, general, and ineffective. We will also discuss the practices that states have adapted to share responsibility, give a few examples of some ad hoc models that have been developed, and evaluate their success. We will then move on to examine the Israeli context of responsibility sharing, looking at both discourse and policies to understand Israel’s position fully. We will conclude with suggestions as to how responsibility sharing could be administered better, with the help of the court.
- refugee law,