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Palestinian gov't slams Israel's killing of Gaza protestors as "massacre"

Palestinian gov't slams Israel's killing of Gaza protestors as

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he was putting on hold an agreement with the United Nations refugee agency to.

At the start of a meeting with south Tel Aviv residents, Prime Minister Netanyahu declared: "I have listened intently to the many observations about the agreement".

In a statement, the UNHCR said it was disappointed and urged Netanyahu to reconsider.

"... After I again weighed the advantages and disadvantages, I chose to cancel the deal", a statement of the prime minister's office said on Tuesday.

Right-wing elements inside and outside Mr Netanyahu's Likud party flayed him for allowing 16,250 asylum seekers to remain in the country, rejecting his explanation that "legal imperatives and diplomatic difficulties" had forced the abandonment of the expulsion plan and the acceptance of the agreement with the UN.

On the other hand, a wide coalition of critics at home and in the Jewish American community had called the government's deportation plans unethical and a stain on Israel's image as a refuge for Jewish migrants.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew back his announcement that Israel would absorb thousands of the illegal migrants, following critism and pressure from his coalition partners. Some ministers in Netanyahu's cabinet also voiced opposition to the agreement, saying they hadn't been consulted or notified about the impending deal.

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Since 2012, Israel has deported roughly 20,000 African migrants and asylum-seekers who had entered the country illegally.

The same number will be given residency in Israel, he said.

The suspended agreement had been an attempt to address criticisms following an earlier plan which would have seen migrants being offered $3,500 and an airplane ticket to leave for a sub-Saharan African country. Even though the government didn't specify where the refugees would go, immigrant rights groups said the countries in question were Rwanda and Uganda.

"We continue to believe in the need for an accord advantageous for all that can benefit Israel, the global community and the people who need asylum, and we hope that Israel reconsiders its decision", said a UNHCR spokesperson.

Netanyahu originally said that the agreement was a "landmark achievement", allowing 16,250 migrants to be taken to "developed countries like Canada, or Germany and Italy".

Hamas Chief, Ismail Haniyeh, called on the Arab League to take Israel to the International Criminal Court for its "crimes" against the peaceful demonstrations of the Land Day that were launched on Friday. Under pressure from his nationalist base, Netanyahu says he will seek alternative plans to repatriate the African migrants.