SYDNEY – As the war in Palestine continues, the authorities in Australia have issued hundreds of temporary visas to Palestinians currently reeling under constant threat and fear as a humanitarian gesture.
The Department of Home Affairs confirmed the approval of 860 visas for Palestinians issued between October 7 (when the violence erupted) and November 20.
While the exact whereabouts of those with visas remain unclear, only a few have left the conflict zone. Moreover, media reports say that 65 individuals, supported by the Australian government, crossed into Egypt via the Rafah border crossing. recently The efforts point to the fact that some of the international players are still playing a role in easing the suffering of the people.
Commenting on the development, the Australian Foreign Minister said those crossing the border are supported by consular staff in Cairo.
‘To date, we have so far facilitated the departure of a total of 127 Australians, permanent residents and their families, Penny Wong said.
‘We would have wanted all Australians and permanent residents with innocent families to have been out within days but we recognise that this is a very difficult situation,’ she explained.
The minister confirmed engaging with the authorities in the United States, as well as Qatar and Egypt, in relation to the Rafah crossing multiple times, thanking them for their assistance.
The news of visa issuance was not hailed by all including the opposition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan who said the government needs to come out, be transparent and inform about the processes taken to grant the visa.
Raising concerns about the security risks, the spokesman said the news was made public only through media and the government needs to ensure transparency.
On the other hand, the foreign minister said those who obtained Australian visas were subject to appropriate security checks.
‘These people have been subjected to the same security checks by Australian Border Force and authorities as you would expect any visa applicant would be required,’ she said.
Meanwhile, Israel and Palestine have agreed on an agreement under which Hamas has confirmed to free some hostages for 4-day pause in fighting.
Hamsa has confirmed that under the agreement, Israel will cease military activity in all regions of the Gaza Strip and would allow trucks for humanitarian, relief, medical and fuel aid to be provided to the Palestinians.