Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conveyed his sympathies to Thailand over the loss of Thai lives in the Gaza conflict and assured his utmost assistance in securing the release of Thais captured by Hamas, as stated by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.
In a phone conversation with the Israeli leader, Mr. Srettha requested assistance in facilitating the return of additional Thai workers if necessary.
He mentioned that Israel can’t provide a definitive timeline for the release of the hostages, but talks are in progress.
Mr. Srettha requested Mr. Netanyahu to safeguard Thai workers in Israel, highlighting their non-involvement in the hostilities and their contributions to Israel’s growth.
Mr. Netanyahu gave his word to assist Thai workers wanting to come back after stability is restored.
“He told me he would inform us if there is any progress in the hostage situation. I told him we welcome any help and conditions in exchange for their safe and quick release,” mentioned Mr. Srettha.
On the topic of delayed salaries, Mr. Srettha mentioned it was previously addressed with the Israeli ambassador, who committed to investigating the issue.
“If there is any progress, he’ll phone me. And if there are any demands involved, he will also inform us,” stated Mr. Srettha.
Earlier, Mr. Srettha affirmed the ongoing evacuations of Thai citizens from Israel, noting the absence of a dedicated flight plan owing to limited numbers.
This statement followed the Thai embassy in Tel Aviv directing Thais wanting evacuation to gather at the Intercontinental Tel Aviv by 5pm the previous day for departure.
Mr. Srettha mentioned that Thais who organized their return flights could seek a refund from the government for their ticket expenses. He stressed the importance of Thai nationals returning while circumstances are still controllable.
Deputy Prime Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara is currently in the Middle East to facilitate the release of Thai hostages.
The ongoing discussions seem promising, but Mr. Srettha emphasized patience. He expressed optimism for the delegation led by House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha.
On Tuesday, Mr. Parnpree met Dr. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, his Iranian peer, in Qatar. Both voiced their concerns about the unrest in Israel and Gaza and its civilian impact.
Thailand has reached out to Qatar and Iran for assistance in the Thai hostages’ release, receiving full backing from both nations. Qatar indicated that Thais could be among the first international evacuees post-conflict.
Air Force leader ACM Phanpakdee Pattanakul reported five evacuation missions, bringing over 1,000 Thais back. While over 8,000 Thais have returned, approximately 70% wish to revisit Israel, as reported by the labor minister.
Labor official Pairote Chotikasathien noted around 20,000 Thai workers remain in Israel, suggesting a special flight if many wish to evacuate.
Eleven Thai casualties from the conflict were recently transported to Suvarnabhumi airport. Six more are scheduled for next week after identification. To date, 32 Thai workers have lost their lives, with 22 captured and 19 wounded.