Family members and non-essential embassy staff from Canada’s missions in Tel Aviv and Ramallah depart amid ongoing war in Israel, Gaza Strip, and West Bank

By | October 17, 2023

Family members and some non-essential staff from Canada’s missions in Tel Aviv and Ramallah have left the region due to the ongoing war in Israel. Global Affairs Canada is closely monitoring the situation and providing support to embassy personnel. Assisted departures have already evacuated over 1,000 passengers.

Family members and some non-essential embassy staff from Canada’s missions in Tel Aviv and Ramallah have left the region, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) announced late Monday. This decision comes as a result of the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, with GAC prioritizing the safety and security of its personnel.

GAC has made it clear that they are closely monitoring the situation and providing necessary support to all embassy personnel as the conflict evolves. Essential officials who remain on the ground, as well as those working out of other offices, are providing consular assistance to the thousands of Canadians registered in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza.

Since the conflict began on October 7, GAC has been inundated with inquiries from Canadians seeking information on departure options and the security situation. In response, additional staff members have been brought in from other embassies to assist in providing consular support. However, there have been reports of considerable difficulty in accessing this assistance during the initial stages of the attacks. As a result, GAC has implemented assisted departures, evacuating over 1,000 passengers by air from Tel Aviv and 31 passengers from the West Bank.

Efforts are still underway to arrange evacuations from Gaza, as GAC actively plans additional assisted departure options. The situation remains tense, with rocket sirens sounding just minutes before Canada’s ambassador to Israel, Lisa Stadelbauer, began an interview. Stadelbauer described the embassy as a “humming hive of activity,” but also acknowledged the anxiety and worry among the staff.

Despite the tense environment, Stadelbauer expressed a level of confidence in the safety measures in place, including the Iron Dome defense system and the availability of bomb shelters. She emphasized the sophisticated system of sirens, ensuring that people are never far from a shelter in Tel Aviv. However, the ongoing conflict and the need to take precautions continue to create tension and uncertainty.

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As the situation in Israel, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank remains volatile, GAC will continue to prioritize the safety and security of its personnel while providing necessary support to Canadians in the region. The evacuation efforts will be ongoing, with the goal of ensuring the well-being of all Canadians affected by the conflict..

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