DILI, 18 october 2023 (TATOLI) – The Government of Timor-Leste reported that the 51 Timorese students currently in Israel, attending the Agriculture and Horticulture Course at the Arava International Agricultural Training Centre (AICAIT), have declared that they intend to remain in Israel, given that, despite the recent escalation of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian territories, the situation in the region is safe.
This decision was taken following a statement by the Director of AICAIT, Dafna Gommershtadt, who assured “that all the students in the Arava are safe and well” and that since “monday 16th, the students have been able to resume their courses”.
Given this decision by the students and the guarantee of safety provided by the Director of AICAIT, the Government of Timor-Leste has decided to suspend contacts for the repatriation of the students. However, the Government will maintain regular contact with these citizens to provide up-to-date information and in close coordination with the relevant authorities to ensure their safety.
The Government Spokesperson, Minister Agio Pereira, assured that: “Constant vigilance of the situation will remain a priority for the Government of Timor-Leste, which will take additional measures, if necessary, to ensure the well-being of its citizens in Israel.”
AICAT said that: “This week we are meeting with all of our students, to talk to them about the situation in Israel, to listen to their concerns and answer any questions that they have, and to reassure them that the Arava is one of the safest places to be in Israel at the moment.”
“It is very important for all our students and their families know that they know that safety is our top priority,” AICAT posted on its Facebook page, on wednesday (18/10). “Each day we will be meeting different groups in their moshavs or kibbutz throughout the whole of the Arava.”
On monday (16/10), the opposition party at the National Parliament asked the government to repatriate 51 Timorese nationals from Israel amid the conflict in Israel and Gaza.
Joaquim do Santos from the Fretilin party urged the government to start preparing evacuation flights for these Timorese citizens over concerns about their safety: “The government must find a solution to protect our citizens in Israel.
Journalist: Camilio de Sousa
Editor: Filomeno Martins