Polish diplomats have been working tirelessly to facilitate the safe evacuation of Polish citizens from the Gaza Strip amid the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, the Foreign Ministry told PAP on Saturday.
According to the Polish Foreign Ministry, there are around 30 Polish citizens in the Gaza Strip. Their evacuation had so far been impossible “due to the reasons attributable to other countries and entities.”
“It is impossible for Polish citizens to leave the Gaza Strip now in connection with the announcement made by the Israeli and Egyptian sides on the temporary suspension of the evacuation from the region,” the Foreign Ministry reported on Sunday.
The ministry said that “in the current situation, it underlines with indignation, the each day of stay of Polish citizens in the Gaza Strip poses a threat to their life and brings suffering, especially to children.”
The Foreign Ministry also wrote that no circumstances could explain a situation in which Polish citizens “have been unable to leave the Gaza Strip for three weeks,” and that Polish officials “have been waiting for them at the Egyptian side” of the border.
Over 1,100 Palestinian dual nationals and wounded have left Gaza into Egypt, but on Saturday authorities in Gaza did not allow foreign passport holders to leave because Israel was preventing the evacuation of Palestinian patients for treatment in Egypt, said Wael Abu Omar, a spokesman for the Palestinian crossings authority.
On October 7 Hamas launched a wide-ranging attack from Gaza into southern Israel, triggering the war.
As part of the NEON operation, Poland has already evacuated over 1,500 Polish citizens and foreign nationals from Israel.
“Since the beginning of the conflict, the Foreign Ministry, through the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv, has remained in close, regular, official and working contact with the Israeli authorities, in order to make it possible for Polish citizens staying in the Gaza Strip to have a safe and quick evacuation,” the ministry wrote in a statement sent to PAP.
The ministry also said that the Polish embassy had provided Israeli institutions with a list of Polish citizens in the Gaza Strip and that it had been pressing for their immediate departure.
Roughly 1,100 people have left the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing since Wednesday under an apparent agreement among the United States, Egypt, Israel and Qatar, which mediates with Hamas.
According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, more than 9,400 Palestinians have been killed in the territory in nearly a month of war.
The October 7 attack in southern Israel killed more than 1,400 people. Roughly 240 hostages are still being held by Hamas.