They are two large extended families who have been living in the Gaza Strip for years, but in addition to Palestinian citizenship, they also have Czech citizenship. Simply because one of the partners is originally from the Czech Republic. Now, after the security situation worsened and Israel launched a ground operation, the Czech authorities asked for help with the evacuation.
Their situation is now being dealt with by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “We are negotiating their options, how they could get to safety from the Gaza Strip, from where they could be evacuated. That is, through the border crossing into Egypt, where the problem is that they stopped letting people through it on Saturday, including those with foreign passports,” explains a MF DNES source from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
One of the families that is about to be evacuated from the Gaza Strip, home to over 2 million civilians, is a family that is currently in the north of the country and cannot safely reach the southern border with Egypt.
For eight people out of eleven, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already verified their Czech citizenship, and it is being processed for the others. “Of course, these are families where children automatically have citizenship after their parents. It is not yet clear about the evacuation,” said Mariana Wernerová, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, yesterday.
According to MF DNES information, all of them describe that they wanted to leave the Gaza Strip earlier, when the ground operation of the Israeli army was approaching, but there was no way to leave the country.
The only way out of the Gaza Strip is to cross into Egypt via the Rafah border crossing, which opened to people with dual citizenship on Thursday, for example. At least three Czechs were interested in the first possible group of foreigners, but they did not succeed.
This is also because, in order to pass through the Rafah crossing, it is necessary to have the consent of the Egyptian authorities. “Consent to pass through the Rafáh crossing is formally limited to 24 hours, after which it must be renewed if the transfer is not carried out,” described Wernerová.
On Monday, November 6, through the crossing, the Palestinians let the wounded in the fighting leave, followed by 335 people who held dual citizenship. Czechs were not among them.