Prepare to evacuate, 36,000 Filipinos in Israel told

Paterno Esmaquel II
Prepare to evacuate, 36,000 Filipinos in Israel told
The Philippines raises crisis alert level 2 over Israel, as well as the West Bank, due to the Israel-Hamas conflict

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines warned its approximately 36,400 nationals in Israel on Tuesday, July 22, to prepare for possible evacuation due to the conflict between Israel and Hamas that has killed more than 570 so far.

The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issued this warning on Tuesday as it raised crisis alert level 2, or the so-called restriction phase, over Israel.

The DFA also issued alert level 2 over the West Bank, which has around 113 Filipinos.

“Alert level 2 is issued when there are real threats to the life, security, and property of Filipinos arising from internal disturbance, instability, and external threats. Filipinos are instructed to restrict non-essential movements, avoid open spaces, and prepare for evacuation,” the DFA said in a statement.

In raising this alert level, the DFA cited the “threats to security posed by the continued conflict between Israel and Hamas.”

TIME OF MOURNING. Uri Greenberg (C), the son of killed Israeli soldier Amotz Greenberg, is embraced by his grandfather during the military funeral ceremony in the cemetery of Hod Hasharon, Israel on July 20, 2014. Photo by Abir Sultan/EPA

Order to flee Gaza Strip

The DFA added that its earlier order for Filipinos to flee the Gaza Strip, under alert level 4, remains due to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Up to 109 Filipinos live in the Gaza Strip.

This conflict poses a danger to Filipinos as up to 573 Palestinians, in fact, have died because of this, according to figures provided by Gaza emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.

Because of this, Washington urged Israel to take “greater steps” to prevent innocent casualties, and UN chief Ban Ki-moon appealed for the violence to “stop now” as it emerged most of the dead were civilians.

But Hamas has so far rejected truce calls, insisting Monday on a lifting of Israel’s siege of Gaza and the release of prisoners to cease its rocket fire.

Israel said its campaign aims to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza, and the ground phase of the operation to destroy tunnels burrowed into Israel by Hamas, the main power in the coastal strip.– with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.