Conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories: updates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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On 7 October heavy fighting broke out in Israel and the Palestinian territories, particularly in and around Gaza. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in contact with Dutch nationals still in the region and is continuing its efforts to help them with assistance from the Ministry of Defence. This page provides updates on the situation and its consequences for Dutch nationals in the region, as well as on what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is doing to help them.

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Image: ©Ministerie van Defensie

4 people leave Gaza

Update 23 February, 16.30
Today four people with whom the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was in contact left Gaza via the Rafah border crossing. These are people who have received a positive decision from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) in the context of family reunification. They were met at the border by staff from the Dutch embassy in Egypt. The group is being assisted and taken to Cairo in preparation for their onward journey to the Netherlands sometime in the next few days.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still in contact with approximately ten people who want to leave Gaza. These are people with a Dutch passport, their immediate family members, people with Dutch residence status and people who have received a positive decision from the IND in the context of family reunification.

We are continuing to make active efforts to ensure that the people we are in contact with and who are in difficult circumstances in Gaza are also helped to leave the region as soon as possible. So far, we have succeeded in getting more than 80 people on the Dutch list out of Gaza.

1 person left Gaza

Update 14 February 10.40
Today one more person with whom the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was in contact left Gaza via the Rafah border crossing. This is someone who has received a positive decision from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) in the context of family reunification. The person was met at the border by staff from the French embassy in Egypt. The person is being assisted and taken to Cairo in preparation for the onward journey to the Netherlands sometime in the next few days.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still in contact with approximately ten people who want to leave Gaza. These are people with a Dutch passport, their immediate family members, people with Dutch residence status and people who have received a positive decision from the IND in the context of family reunification.

We are continuing to make active efforts to ensure that the people we are in contact with and who are in difficult circumstances in Gaza are also helped to leave the region as soon as possible. So far, we have succeeded in getting more than 80 people on the Dutch list out of Gaza.

Three people have left Gaza

Update 13 February 14.35
Today three people with whom the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was in contact left Gaza via the Rafah border crossing. These are people who have received a positive decision from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) in the context of family reunification. They were met at the border by staff from the French embassy in Egypt. The group is being assisted and taken to Cairo in preparation for their onward journey to the Netherlands sometime in the next few days.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still in contact with approximately ten people who want to leave Gaza. These are people with a Dutch passport, their immediate family members, people with Dutch residence status and people who have received a positive decision from the IND in the context of family reunification.

We are continuing to make active efforts to ensure that the people we are in contact with and who are in difficult circumstances in Gaza are also helped to leave the region as soon as possible. So far, we have succeeded in getting more than 80 people on the Dutch list out of Gaza.

Thirteen people have left Gaza

Update 12 February 16.35
Today thirteen people with whom the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was in contact left Gaza via the Rafah border crossing. These are people who have received a positive decision from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) in the context of family reunification. They were met at the border by staff from the Dutch embassy in Egypt. The group is being assisted and taken to Cairo in preparation for their onward journey to the Netherlands sometime in the next few days.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still in contact with approximately ten people who want to leave Gaza. These are people with a Dutch passport, their immediate family members, people with Dutch residence status and people who have received a positive decision from the IND in the context of family reunification.

We are continuing to make active efforts to ensure that the people we are in contact with and who are in difficult circumstances in Gaza are also helped to leave the region as soon as possible. So far, we have succeeded in getting more than 80 people on the Dutch list out of Gaza.

Two people have left Gaza

Update 16 January 15.09
Yesterday two more people with whom the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was in contact left Gaza via the Rafah border crossing. Just like earlier this week, these are people who have received a positive decision from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) in the context of family reunification. They were met at the border by staff from the Dutch embassy in Egypt. The group is being assisted and taken to Cairo in preparation for their onward journey to the Netherlands sometime in the next few days.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still in contact with several dozen people who want to leave Gaza. These are people with a Dutch passport, their immediate family members, people with Dutch residence status and people who have received a positive decision from the IND in the context of family reunification.

We are continuing to make active efforts to ensure that the people we are in contact with and who are in difficult circumstances in Gaza are also helped to leave the region as soon as possible. So far, we have succeeded in getting more than 70 people on the Dutch list out of Gaza.

Ten people leave Gaza

Update 10 January 15.56
Today 10 more people with whom the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was in contact left Gaza via the Rafah border crossing. Just like earlier this week, these are people who have received a positive decision from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) in the context of family reunification. They were met at the border by staff from the Dutch embassy in Egypt. The group is being assisted and taken to Cairo in preparation for their onward journey to the Netherlands sometime in the next few days.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still in contact with several dozen people who want to leave Gaza. These are people with a Dutch passport, their immediate family members, people with Dutch residence status and people who have received a positive decision from the IND in the context of family reunification.

We are continuing to make active efforts to ensure that the people we are in contact with and who are in difficult circumstances in Gaza are also helped to leave the region as soon as possible. So far, we have succeeded in getting more than 60 people on the Dutch list out of Gaza.

Twelve people leave Gaza

Update 8 January 16.28
Today 12 people with whom the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was in contact left Gaza via the Rafah border crossing. These are people who have received a positive decision from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) in the context of family reunification. They were met at the border by staff from the Dutch embassy in Egypt. The group is being assisted and taken to Cairo in preparation for their onward journey to the Netherlands sometime in the next few days. For privacy reasons we cannot make any further announcements about their journey.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still in contact with several dozen people who want to leave Gaza. These are people with a Dutch passport, their immediate family members, people with Dutch residence status and people who have received a positive decision from the IND in the context of family reunification.

We are continuing to make active efforts to ensure that the people we are in contact with and who are in difficult circumstances in Gaza are also helped to leave the region as soon as possible. So far, we have succeeded in getting more than 50 people on the Dutch list out of Gaza.

Six Dutch nationals leave Gaza via Rafah

Update 5 December 17.30

Today six Dutch nationals with whom the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been in contact left Gaza via the Rafah border crossing. They were met on the Egyptian side of the border by a team from the Dutch embassy and then taken to Cairo. There, they received further support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence. They will travel on to the Netherlands in the next few days. For privacy reasons, no information will be released about their onward journey.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs remains in contact with 10 Dutch nationals in Gaza and their families, and legal residents of the Netherlands. We hope they too will be able to leave Gaza as soon as possible, and we will continue to do our utmost to ensure that will happen. For security reasons, we will only communicate about any departures from Gaza once those involved have been able to leave the region safely.

Nine people leave Gaza

Update 4 December 17.30
Today, nine people with whom the foreign ministry has been in contact arrived in Egypt via the border crossing at Rafah. They were met at the border by representatives of Belgium and then taken to Cairo. There they are receiving further support from Dutch embassy staff, who will accompany them to the Netherlands.

For reasons of privacy, no information is being released about their journey to the Netherlands.

The ministry remains in contact with 16 Dutch nationals in Gaza and their families, and legal residents of the Netherlands. We hope they too will be able to leave Gaza as soon as possible, and we will continue to do our utmost to ensure that will happen. We will release information about that – as we are doing today – once they have been able to leave the area safely.

Dutch national Ofir Engel among group of hostages released today in Gaza

Update 29 November 22.50
The Dutch national Ofir Engel was released today in Gaza, said Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot:

‘Very grateful and relieved to report that Dutch citizen Ofir Engel is among the group of hostages released today in Gaza. We have dedicated the past weeks to this effort through all diplomatic channels. I am grateful that he is now safe, back with family and friends. Nevertheless, it remains deeply distressing that Hamas continues to hold dozens of innocent people hostage. We continue to call for their immediate and unconditional release. For the hostages who have now been released, including Ofir Engel, the Netherlands greatly appreciates the efforts of international partners. We are thankful in particular to Qatar, as well as the United States, Egypt, and Israel.’

Contact with 25 people in Gaza

Update 29 November 22.50
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently in contact with 25 Dutch nationals, resident permit holders and their immediate family members in Gaza. Additional names have come to our attention over the past week. We are working to ensure that they can leave Gaza as quickly as possible.

As people become eligible to cross the border, we will inform them first individually. For security reasons we will not be releasing any further operational information. We will issue a public statement once people have safely entered Egypt.

Since 2 November, 27 of the people with whom we have been in contact have left Gaza. They were received and supported by staff from the Dutch embassy in Egypt and have now travelled on to the Netherlands.

Dutch national leaves Gaza

Update 24 November 24, 8.19
Yesterday a Dutch national arrived in Egypt via the Rafah border. At the border with Rafah, this person was met by Belgian representatives and then taken to Cairo by transport from the Dutch embassy. In the Egyptian capital, this person is provided with further assistance by the Dutch embassy and accompanied to the Netherlands.

For privacy reasons, no statements are made about this onward journey to the Netherlands.

Last week a new person came into the picture. As a result, the ministry is currently in contact with 14 people in Gaza with Dutch nationality and possible family members or with residence status. We hope and make every effort to ensure that they too can leave Gaza as soon as possible. If more people are eligible for border crossing in the near future, we will let them know first. For security reasons, we do not communicate any further operational information. We will communicate publicly when these individuals are safely in Egypt.

Prime Minister Rutte and Minister Bruins Slot on agreement by Israel and Hamas to pause fighting

Update 22 November, 09.00
Israel and Hamas have reached agreement on a pause in fighting. The agreement includes the release of hostages from Gaza. Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanke Bruins Slot have responded to the news:

‘Excellent news that there’s an agreement on releasing hostages from Gaza,’ said Rutte on X. ‘The Netherlands continues to call for the release of all the hostages. The pause in fighting must be used to deliver a very great deal of aid to innocent civilians in Gaza. My thanks to Qatar, the US and Egypt for their crucial efforts.’

Bruins Slot on X: ‘We welcome the agreement between Israel and Hamas regarding a temporary pause in hostilities, and the release of a first group of women and children that were held hostage in Gaza. I am hopeful that they can now be reunited with their loved ones after such horrific weeks. The Netherlands will continue to call for the immediate and unconditional release of other hostages. I feel deeply for all those who are still held captive. Important that the Red Cross is granted access, so that they can provide necessary support. It is crucial that a substantial amount of humanitarian aid can now reach Gaza. The people urgently need clean water, food, medical care and fuel. We call on all parties to fully respect this temporary pause and thank Qatar, the US, Egypt and other partners for their efforts.’

14 Dutch nationals, resident permit holders and their immediate family members still in Gaza

Update 16 November 9.47

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues its active efforts to help the 14 people with whom we are in contact to leave Gaza as quickly as possible. This group includes Dutch nationals and holders of resident permits for the Netherlands and their immediate family members. The 10 people who left Gaza this past Sunday and Monday arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday on regular commercial flights. Ministry representatives accompanied them on their journey from Egypt to the Netherlands.

In total, 26 Dutch nationals and their immediate family members and holders of resident permits for the Netherlands have left Gaza in the past two weeks. Staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs met them at the border between Gaza and Egypt and accompanied them on their journey to the Netherlands.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to be very troubling. More must be done to improve the humanitarian situation immediately, said Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanke Bruins Slot last Tuesday during a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.

New update blog opened: read updates issued from 24 October to 15 November

Update 16 November 9.00

This blog provides news and updates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories and the Dutch nationals who remain there. Previous updates are available in live blog posts for the period from 24 October to 15 November. This new blog will publish updates on the situation in and around Gaza and the Dutch nationals who are still there.