The Foreign Ministry is currently registering 181 Czechs in Israel in the Drozd travel system, and at least a dozen are trying to get to the Czech Republic in some way. The possibility of dispatching another repatriation flight to Israel, in light of the recent activities of the Palestinian Hamas movement, is under consideration by a working group within the ministry. However, Lipavský refrained from preemptively passing judgment on this decision. Notably, thirty-four Czech citizens arrived in Prague last night aboard a government special flight.
Lipavský elucidated that the individuals repatriated to the Czech Republic were primarily those who had proactively contacted the Czech embassy in Tel Aviv. He emphasized that the flight was optimally filled, including several families with children.
For other Czech citizens interested in participating in a repatriation flight, the diplomatic chief advised reaching out to the embassy, the ministry, or standard consular channels. He also recommended registration in the Drozd system, highlighting ongoing efforts to compile lists and assess the situation. Lipavský will rely on the recommendations of the working group to make a decision and potentially engage other members of the government.
At present, Agriculture Minister Marek Výborný (KDU-ČSL) is on a business mission to Uzbekistan aboard one of the government planes. He expressed his readiness to cut short the trip and return to Prague promptly, making the plane available for citizen evacuation if required, despite his original return schedule for Friday.
Regarding the complex issue of repatriating children allegedly taken by the former husband of an abused woman to the Gaza Strip, Lipavský admitted that there is currently no realistic legal means for the Czech state to achieve their return. The situation in Gaza, under the control of a terrorist movement, complicates any efforts to claim the children. The Foreign Ministry is coordinating the case through its embassies in Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Tel Aviv, and Ramallah.
During his visit to Israel, Lipavský met with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, President Yitzhak Herzog, and the granddaughter of a woman previously abducted by the Palestinian Hamas movement to the Gaza Strip. In his meeting with Cohen, Lipavský reiterated the Czech Republic’s offer of assistance and awaits a potential formal request from the Israeli side, which he believes might fall under the Ministry of Defence’s jurisdiction.
The casualty count from the weekend attack on Israel by the Palestinian Hamas movement has surged to 1,200, as reported by Israeli public broadcaster Kan. Prior Palestinian statements had indicated that over 900 people were killed due to Israeli counter-strikes since Saturday.
Expressing his deep concern, Lipavský described the Hamas attack as “barbaric” and affirmed the Czech Republic’s full support for Israel’s right to self-defense. He clarified that this support does not imply a denial of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people but rather underscores the Czech Republic’s stance that Hamas does not represent them.