Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin told a press briefing that his government is considering a large evacuation of Thais in Israel as the Israel-Gaza conflict escalates. He was speaking after chairing his first National Defence Council meeting on Thursday.
He stated that he had been warned that the war is likely to escalate into a regional confrontation in the Middle East, and that numerous countries whose residents were evacuated from Israel to Jordan and Lebanon had discussed measures to return their citizens home.
Thailand would also assess the situation and notify Thais in Israel if the war escalates, Mr Srettha said.
“We’ve learned that cyber warfare will be used, as well as drones.” “We are concerned that the conflict will spread to [Israel’s] neighbouring countries,” he warned.
He went on to explain that practically all Thais who filed for repatriation in Israel have already returned home. However, he stressed that the government is still concerned about individuals who chose to remain.
“Things are also becoming more complicated because the number of Thai workers who choose to stay in Israel is unknown.” According to security officials, there are a significant number, many of them are illegal workers.
Twenty thousand Thai Workers in Israel
“However, that isn’t a big deal. “Our primary concern is to locate them and inform them of the gravity of the situation,” the prime minister stated. “We are willing to bring them home even though they are illegal workers.”
“For those who remain in Israel, we want to ensure that we can communicate directly with them to inform them of the gravity of the situation.”
“I will instruct the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Labour Ministry to find their names and telephone numbers,” he stated.
He added that he visited cabinet ministers in charge of economic affairs and energy to discuss how to deal with the potential economic impact of a larger war.
According to Phairoj Chotikasatien, the Labour Ministry’s permanent secretary, around 20,000 Thai workers desire to continue working in Israel because they are not in danger zones.
“We cannot force them to return home, but the government does not want any Thais there to risk their lives,” he went on to say.
According to Israeli authorities, over 60 bodies remain unidentified. “The Israeli authorities only said they are Asians, and we hope there are no Thais among them.”
According to the Labour Ministry’s Facebook page, 21,229 Thai workers are still in Israel, with 8,637 having returned as of yesterday. Twenty-three people were kidnapped, 18 were injured, and 34 were slain. There have now been 26 repatriations.
Thailand Getting Help from Egypt
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara met Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Hassan Shoukry in Cairo on Wednesday.
The two sides reiterated their shared request for an immediate and long-term humanitarian truce with the international community. They also expressed support for constructive conversation between Israelis and Palestinians in order to establish a peaceful and long-term solution.
Mr. Parnpree requested assistance from his Egyptian counterpart in determining how to facilitate the immediate release of the hostages, including Thai and foreign nationals, as well as access to the Rafah border crossing for released Thai hostages.
They discussed regional problems of mutual concern, and Thailand praised Egypt’s strong engagement in the global arena.
The two sides also talked about their long-standing collaboration, with a focus on the 70th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations in 2024.
They confirmed their willingness to promote cooperation in a variety of areas using existing structures for mutual benefit.
Mr Srettha posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that his Malaysian counterpart had called him to express concern about the Thai captives detained by Hamas.
He stated that Malaysia was willing to assist the Thai government in safely repatriating all Thai workers.