The bodies of 11 Thai citizens landed in Thailand on 1 November, shortly after midnight. They were killed in the Hamas-Israel conflict.
To date, official reports from the Thai government have documented the deaths of 32 Thai citizens and reported 19 others injured, while 22 Thai nationals have been reported as abducted by Hamas, the governing body of the Gaza Strip.
In response to the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas, on 31 October, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced a decision to offer a monetary incentive to Thai laborers currently in Israel, encouraging them to return to Thailand. This action is taken in consideration of the safety and well-being of Thai workers who may be at risk amidst the ongoing turmoil in the region.
Thai workers who choose to return from Israel will receive a compensation of THB 50,000 (approximately USD 1,378). The returnees will also be eligible to apply for a long-term, low-interest loan of up to THB 150,000 (USD 4,135) per individual.
Applications to receive the loan are allowed until June 2024. Those eligible will have to return the amount within 20 years with an interest rate of 3 percent, where 2 percent is covered by the government.
The government’s decision was based on a thorough analysis of the situation on the ground, which revealed financial constraints to be the primary obstacle preventing some Thai workers from departing Israel, according to the Nation Thailand.
Less than 8,000 Thai workers have returned to the country as of 30 October, while about 22,000 others remain in Israel, Khaosod reported.
Additionally, PM Srettha said the Thai government is looking into ways to start negotiations with Hamas to release the Thai hostages.