What to Know About the Gaza Departures


After three weeks of thwarted hopes and intensive diplomatic negotiations, thousands of foreign passport holders and people affiliated with international organizations are set to evacuate from Gaza to Egypt starting on Wednesday. They are the first group to leave Gaza in major numbers since the war between Israel and Hamas began Oct. 7.

A group of about 500 foreign passport holders and dual nationals and their families, as well as Palestinian employees of international aid groups and the United Nations, were beginning to leave Gaza on Wednesday through the Rafah border crossing, with more to follow in the coming days, according to Gazan authorities and Western diplomats. The agreement came together late on Tuesday in talks that have been ongoing among Israel, Egypt, Hamas, the United States and Qatar.

Here’s what we know about the departures:

  • The list of people set to leave on Wednesday included foreign and dual nationals from Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Indonesia, Japan and Jordan as well as staff members from aid organizations including Doctors Without Borders, the International Committee of the Red Cross and UNRWA, the United Nations agency that aids Palestinians.

  • There are also 81 wounded people being taken for treatment in Egypt, the Gaza authorities and Egyptian state media said. Some family members are also traveling to Egypt with them as escorts: The full group leaving in the medical convoys numbers about 130, a senior Western diplomat in Cairo said.

  • Starting Thursday, 1,000 foreign and dual nationals and Palestinian staff members of international organizations are expected to leave via the Rafah crossing daily, Western diplomats in Cairo said. It was unclear how long the departures would go on, but the diplomats said they were expected to continue until everyone who is eligible and willing to leave can do so.

  • American citizens are not among those scheduled to leave on Wednesday, but will come out in groups starting as soon as Thursday, the diplomats said. The U.S. State Department has emailed American citizens in Gaza to tell them to prepare to leave, informing them that they will be assigned specific departure dates.

  • After weeks of stalled negotiations between Israel, Egypt, Hamas, the United States and Qatar — which was communicating with Hamas because the United States and Israel do not have formal relations with the group — the agreement came together suddenly on Tuesday. Egypt instructed foreign embassies late Tuesday night to head to Rafah to receive their citizens, amid some uncertainty about which countries’ nationals would depart when, the diplomats said.


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