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Philippine gov’t prepares to evacuate Filipinos in Israel 

THE PHILIPPINE government is now preparing for the possible repatriation of Filipinos in Israel amid the conflict between Palestinian armed groups and Israeli military, Malacañang Palace said on Thursday.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is now planning for the possible return of Filipinos and has reminded them to remain safe amid the tension between the two forces.

Ang naging posisyon din ng DFA, sana po malutas sa mapayapang paraan itong tensiyon na nangyayari po diyan sa Gitnang Silangan (The DFA’s position is that it hopes to see a peaceful resolution to that conflict in the Middle East),” Presidential Spokesman Herminio “Harry” L. Roque, Jr. said.

Palestinian nationalist group Hamas and Israeli armed forces had been in a deadly exchange of fires as Palestinians continue to be evicted from East Jerusalem.

There are more than 30,000 Filipinos in Israel, composed mostly of workers, some students, and diplomats.

The Israeli Embassy in Manila, in a media statement sent via Viber on Thursday, said, “The responsibility for the violence unfolding in Jerusalem, Gaza, and the rest of Israel falls entirely on the terrorist organization Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Johad and other terror supporters.”

“Israel has, had and will take any actions necessary to protect its citizens and noncitizens and will not allow terrorist organizations to attack civilians in Israel without a response,” it said.

The Ben Gurion Airport, the main international airport in Israel, has temporarily stopped all inbound and outbound flights.

“We call on all Overseas Filipino Workers who are in Israel to listen to the safety instructions and strictly follow the directives of IDF Home Front Command,” the embassy said.

Israeli police earlier arrested and evicted Palestinians from the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Israeli security forces have used “repeated, unwarranted and excessive force against Palestinian protesters in occupied East Jerusalem following four days of violence in which 840 Palestinians were injured,” Amnesty International said in a statement on May 10.

“The latest violence brings into sharp focus Israel’s sustained campaign to expand illegal Israeli settlements and step up forced evictions of Palestinian residents — such as those in Sheikh Jarrah — to make way for Israeli settlers,” it said. “These forced evictions are part of a continuing pattern in Sheikh Jarrah, they flagrantly violate international law and would amount to war crimes.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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