In the midst of an escalating conflict, the honorable Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin issued a heartfelt request for Thai laborers in Israel to escape the crisis and come back home immediately. The plea came subsequent to receiving a detailed brief concerning the prevailing geopolitical situation in Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip from the Foreign Ministry officials. The Prime Minister voiced a warning that developments in the conflict could rapidly lead to a full-blown war, making evacuation extremely challenging.
As the Prime Minister stated, “All military, foreign affairs, and security power chains have unanimously opined that even though military strike reports have momentarily slowed down, the war fervor is poised for intensification. In such circumstances, chances of the conflict broadening its scope and engulfing neighboring nations are dangerously high. This concern simply cannot be ignored.”
Underscoring the urgency, he implored, “Without any delay, all Thai workers must initiate their journey back home. For their family back in Thailand, it is your moral duty to persuade your loved ones to return from Israel at the earliest. As soon as the ground battles ignite, getting back will not be a piece of cake. Traveling to evacuation centers or reaching airports can become a herculean task.”
Revealing the evacuation capacity, he said, “We can ensure the safe exit of 1,000 Thais every day. I genuinely hope that everyone makes it back. Once you sign for the evacuation, kindly stick to your decision. Monetary gains are not worth risking your life over. Your safe arrival is my highest priority. Please return and prioritize the sanctity of your life over anything else.”
Mr. Srettha also informed about his direction to officials to enhance the cash incentive from a 15,000 baht monthly stipend for the returning residents, and guarantee their employment on arrival. He reassured that the government was leaving no stone unturned to secure and expedite the release of Thais abducted by Hamas.
The Prime Minister also shared his discussions regarding the Thai abductees at the Asean-Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Riyadh with international leaders like the Malaysian Prime Minister, the Kings of Oman and Bahrain, and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. He further stated that the world is sensibly aware of Thailand’s neutral position in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite the loss of 30 Thai lives so far.
The complexities and trials of the 19 Thai hostages’ predicaments remain enigma as affirmed by Mr. Srettha. The government is tirelessly devising every possible solution, despite the undisclosed destinations high-level Thai officials are embarking on for quick resolutions.
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Jakkapong Sangmanee stated that around 3,000 Thais had safely returned and additional flights are being arranged for expedient evacuation. The Minister also mentioned Israel’s confirmation to welcome back Thai workers post the turbulent period. The Thai Labour Ministry is engaging proactively with the Israeli employers to prevent any delays in payment and attempts to manipulate Thai workers for retention.
As the crisis escalates, from an original count of 30,000 Thai workers in Israel prior to the Hamas-initiated attacks on October 7, approximately 8,500 have registered for evacuation and are coming home in batches each day.