NZ ambassador asks Israel to let Kiwis leave Gaza

By and is republished with permission

New Zealand’s ambassador to Israel is requesting approval to evacuate New Zealand citizens from Gaza.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) said only one New Zealander had been approved to leave Gaza, and there were 20 others who officials were trying to get out.

It said the ambassador, Zoe Coulson-Sinclair, was seeking approval from Israel to evacuate citizens, family members and New Zealand permanent residents.

MFAT said Israel and Egypt were in charge of decisions on who was able to cross the Rafah border.

It said there were thousands of foreign nationals still trapped in Gaza, and called on all parties to do everything possible to let them leave.

Coulson-Sinclair, based in Turkey, was in Israel to “seek clarity on Gaza border processes and request that New Zealand be given approval to evacuate our citizens as soon as possible”, an MFAT spokesperson told RNZ.

“Ministerial and ambassador-level discussions have also taken place with Egypt. We will continue these efforts over coming days.”

All 20 people were in contact with MFAT.

“We strongly recommend that all New Zealanders in the region register on SafeTravel,” MFAT said. “Those that need consular assistance should contact the 24/7 Consular Emergency Line on +64 99 20 20 20.”

Rafah, on the border with Egypt, is the only border crossing out of Gaza not controlled by Israel. On Tuesday, Reuters reported about 420 foreigners were allowed to cross, including 100 Egyptians.

Only four Gazans were allowed out, to receive medical care in Egypt.

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