Israel has cancelled plans to deport migrants en masse to Africa after reaching a deal with the United Nations refugee agency.
Some 16,250 African migrants, many seeking asylum, will instead be resettled in Western nations, including Canada, Italy and Germany, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The same amount will be given residency in Israel, he said.
But Italy has already denied it is part of the deal.
Foreign ministry sources in Rome were quoted by the Italian media as saying “there is no agreement with Italy” in the pact between Israel and the UN.
The original plan to send male African migrants to third countries in Africa – reported to be Uganda and Rwanda – was condemned by Israeli activists and sparked protests.
Israel’s Supreme Court had blocked deportations meant to begin on Sunday.
The new plan, which the Israeli government described as “unprecedented”, will be implemented over a five-year period.
“These understandings will allow the removal of more migrants from Israel than in the previous plan, and under UN and the international community’s auspices,” a statement from Mr Netanyahu’s office said.
For each migrant resettled overseas, Israel will give “temporary residence” to a migrant in Israel, Mr Netanyahu told a news conference.
Canada and Germany are yet to officially confirm their participation. In Italy, an anti-immigrant alliance emerged with the most votes in last month’s election, and the dominant member, the far-right League, has pledged to expel undocumented immigrants if it leads a new government.
Where are the migrants from?
Most of the 42,000 African migrants in Israel are from Eritrea – a one-party state whose leaders have been accused of crimes against humanity by a UN inquiry – and war-torn Sudan.