THERE now remains less than a thousand Thais in Israel’s red zone adjacent to Gaza Strip and to the north bordering Lebanon while evacuation flights are not full as many Thai workers are staying back till they are paid either end of the month or Nov. 10, TV Channel 7 said this morning (Oct. 24).
Thai Ambassador to Israel Ms. Phannapa Chandrarom said so far over 3,600 workers have flown back to Thailand on 17 flights.
While there are plans to arrange two flights a day for a total capacity of 500-600 passengers, only 200-300 Thais are now showing up at the evacuation centre each day with the chartered flights to Thailand not full.
She emphasised that the Thai government is expediting evacuation of Thais in Israel but as advanced planning is required arrangements are ending at the end of this month. Moreover it will be more difficult and dangerous to do so should Israel mount a ground attack amid concern about the safety of the staff handling the rescue operation.
Ms. Phannapa confirmed that Israeli employers in many areas had told Thai workers they will be paid on Nov. 10 leading to hesitation to fly back during this time.
The embassy and the Labour Department have told the workers to negotiate with their employers to be paid for only the days they have worked and not wait till the end of the month or Nov. 10.
The embassy too is continuously contacting the Israeli employers about paying Thai workers so that they could head home as the war could escalate further after Nov. 10.
The embassy is also speeding up moving Thais out of the red zone with the total in both areas, next to Gaza Strip and on the border with Lebanon, being less than a thousand. Phone calls are made to them individually to leave immediately as even Israelis have now left.
However it depends on them whether they do so with there also now being fewer Thais in Israel apprehensive about the war.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said this morning that he had complained to Israeli ambassador Mrs. Orna Sagiv about employers in her country using money to lure Thai workers to stay on and she replied that she did not know anything about this but would investigate and get back to him quickly,
She also did not know anything about Israeli employers postponing paying Thai workers’ wages till Nov. 10 with the Thai Prime Minister firmly stating that her government has to look into this issue.
Top: Smoke billows after an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Oct. 16, 2023. File Photo: AFP/Said Khatib and published by CNA
Front Page: Yocheved Lifshitz and Nurit Cooper (also known as Nurit Yitzhak) who were held hostages by Palestinian Hamas militants, are released by the militants, in this video screengrab obtained by Reuters on Oct. 23, 2023. Image: Al-Qassam Brigades, military wing of Hamas/Handout via Reuters and published by CNA