on Tuesday 10 October 2023 at 11.00 hrs.
Press Conference Room, MFA and via MFA Facebook Live
1. Mrs. Kanchana Patarachoke, Director-General of the Department of Information and MFA Spokesperson held a press conference regarding the situation in Israel and impact on Thai nationals. She was joined, via videocall, by Ms. Pannabha Chandraramya, Ambassador of Thailand to Israel (Amb), who provided updates and preparations being made by the Royal Thai Embassy in Tel Aviv (RTE) to evacuate Thai nationals.
2. Overview of Situation
2.1 Before providing updates, Amb expressed her condolences to family members of Thai nationals who have been affected and assured that Team Thailand in Israel is doing its best to protect and assist Thai nationals through constant coordination with the relevant Israeli authorities.
2.2 Updates from RTE on the ongoing situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip, include developments that are particularly related to the Israel Defense Forces regaining control of territory and evacuating civilians from 15 of the 24 towns in the Gaza Strip area. The Israeli military and relevant Israeli agencies have evacuated hundreds of civilians, including Thai nationals, from at-risk areas within 4 km. of the Gaza Strip towards safe zones.
2.3 Furthermore, the Israeli police is investigating people who have been reported missing and is using technology to facilitate facial recognition. This is being coordinated closely with RTE.
3. Impact/Status of Thai nationals
3.1 Number of deaths: 18 (according to unofficial reports from employers, pending official confirmation from Israeli authorities)
3.2 Number of injuries: 9
3.3 Number of Thai nationals taken hostage: 11
3.4 Number of Thai nationals who have registered for voluntary repatriation: approximately 3,226 (there are approximately 5,000 Thai nationals in the Gaza Strip area)
4. Evacuation of Thai Nationals
4.1 RTE has arranged for the initial repatriation of 15 Thai nationals this Wed (11 Oct.) via El Al. This includes injured Thai nationals who are fit for travel and Thai nationals who have been transferred to safe zones, who are scheduled to arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Thursday (12 Oct.) The next repatriation of 80 Thai nationals is scheduled for next Wed (18 Oct.).
4.2 MFA Spokesperson updated that various countries, mostly European, have likewise started to repatriate their nationals.
5. Government action/next steps
5.1 Communications with Foreign Governments
The Ambassadors of Thailand to Israel’s neighbouring countries have contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in their host country to discuss alternative evacuation routes for Thai nationals and any other assistance the Thai nationals may require. Regarding those abducted, Thailand is using every diplomatic and other channel possible, to convey our concerns and request for assistance for this group. The Thai Government is following up very closely.
5.2 Communications with the Government of Israel
Yesterday night (9 Oct.), Mr. Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand (DPM/FM) received a phone call from Mr. Eli Cohen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel. Minister Cohen expressed his condolences for Thai nationals who have been affected by the State of War in Israel and reassured that the Government of Israel will do its best to protect Thai nationals. He recalled that Thai nationals are not only situated in the Gaza Strip area, but that they are spread out throughout Israel, which makes it difficult to mobilize them all to safe zones.
DPM/FM stressed that the Thai Government attaches utmost importance to the safety and well-being of Thai nationals in Israel and requested the Israeli side to expedite the rescue of innocent civilians, including Thai nationals, who have been taken hostage. He also requested the Israeli side to verify and officially confirm the number of injuries and deaths of Thai nationals as soon as possible, as the Thai side awaits official verification from Israeli authorities.
5.3 Communication channels
MFA Spokesperson recalled MFA’s hotlines, LINE Openchat, and Facebook page for assistance regarding the situation in Israel.