Australia evacuates Solomon Islanders in Israel amid conflict between Israel and Palestine
On 17 October 2023, Australia provided crucial support for 65 Solomon Islands nationals to depart from Israel on a flight from Tel Aviv to Dubai. This group included Australians, their families, and citizens from partner nations, including other Pacific Island Countries.
Furthermore, Australia recently facilitated the departure of an additional 14 Solomon Islands nationals from Tel Aviv, Israel. This group will connect with flights to Australia to complete the remainder of their journey. These 14 Solomon Islanders represent the last members of a 79-member delegation that had initially traveled to Israel before the outbreak of conflicts involving Hamas.
High Commissioner Rod Hilton of Australia expressed the nation’s commitment to supporting Solomon Islands nationals during this challenging time, stating, “Australia is pleased to support Solomon Islands nationals in a time of need.” He highlighted the highly challenging and rapidly changing situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, emphasizing the importance of returning home to be with loved ones.
Mr. Hilton also extended appreciation to the Solomon Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade for their close cooperation throughout this challenging process. Australia affirmed its dedication to working closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade to continue providing support to Solomon Islands citizens as the crisis unfolds in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
High Commissioner Hilton further expressed his satisfaction with the safe departure of the remaining members of the Solomon Islands delegation, emphasizing Australia’s pride in supporting their return to friends and family.
The 65 members of the delegation who left Israel on Tuesday arrived in Sydney with a warm welcome by Mr. Trevor Ramoni, Deputy High Commissioner to Australia, and other Australian officials. Australia will continue its collaborative efforts with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade to support these Solomon Islands citizens as they progress on their journey back home.
In recognition of Australia’s assistance, the Solomon Islands Government acknowledged the safe departure of Solomon Islands nationals from Israel amid the ongoing conflict in the area.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, in close consultation with the Prime Minister’s Office, had collaborated closely with the Government of Australia through the High Commission in Honiara to facilitate the safe return of the Solomon Islanders who were attending the Feast of Tabernacles program. The Solomon Islands expressed gratitude for the assistance provided by the Government of Australia in ensuring the safe passage of their nationals trapped in Israel, particularly when most commercial flights had been disrupted due to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas.
The Solomon Islands Mission representative in Australia extended a warm welcome to the Solomon Islands nationals in Sydney and conveyed gratitude to the Government of Australia and its officials for their invaluable assistance. Apart from ensuring their safe passage, Australia had also made arrangements for overnight hotel accommodations in Sydney. The group is set to travel to Brisbane today (Thursday, 19th October) in anticipation of their flight to the Solomon Islands. The first group is expected to arrive in Honiara on Friday, 20th October, while the second group will return home on Saturday, 21st October 2023.