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This is how the PA’s Embassy disappointed Gaza students in Sudan

April 28, 2023 at 5:47 pm

People wait next to passenger buses as smoke billows in an area in Khartoum where fighting continues between Sudan’s army and the paramilitary forces on April 28, 2023 [AFP via Getty Images]

Palestinian students from the Gaza Strip who are stuck in Sudan, made an urgent appeal to be evacuated immediately from the capital, Khartoum, after the Palestinian Embassy lured them from a safe State to the capital, with the aim of transferring them to Egypt and then to the Gaza Strip.

However, the Embassy skirted its duty towards them, under the pretext of the steep cost of transporting them and, instead, left them amid the shelling and bullets fired by the Sudanese Army and the Rapid Support Forces.

The students, who were stuck in Sudan, amidst the bombing and fighting, said that the Palestinian Embassy in Khartoum had broken its promise to the students and left them in the most dangerous areas in Sudan, under the pretext of its inability to pay the costs of transporting them to Egypt, while it evacuated the students from the Occupied West Bank.

The students added that “the Embassy asked us to move from the safe State where we resided to the capital, Khartoum, in the midst of bombing, clashes and destruction, so that we would be transported by bus to Egypt and then to Gaza Strip, but the Embassy staff evacuated the students from the Occupied West Bank and left us under the bombing and destruction.”

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“We left our place at 2:30 am and arrived at the Embassy at 8:30 am, hoping that the Ministry would take us, as promised, to Egypt, only to be surprised that it had broken its promise and left us under attack in the most dangerous area due to the ongoing fighting in the area,” they noted.

The students continued, “Before we left our place, the Palestinian Embassy told us that the students will be transported for free, but that the families would pay the transportation fare to get to Egypt. However, the Embassy backed out of the agreement and told us to figure it out ourselves by paying the transportation fees or to reach an agreement with the bus drivers to take them for a small fee or for free.”

They students asked, “If the Embassy could not coordinate with the fighting forces to transfer us to the crossing, why did it agree with us to come to the centre of Khartoum amidst the bombing and destruction, and why did the Foreign Ministry publish news that we had been evacuated, when the truth is we haven’t been transported. We are currently in the capital, Khartoum, with planes hovering over our place of residence. We are in danger from the fighting forces.”

“If our property is taken, we will neither be able to return to the State from which we came, nor will we be able to communicate with our families or the concerned authorities,” they added.

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The students noted that they are living in a very difficult situation, as they are in the midst of the most violent and dangerous areas and cannot return to the State from which they came, or go to Egypt to return to the Gaza Strip because of the extent of bombings and clashes in the area.

The students said that “the buses were supposed to take us to Egypt at 8 am and we were supposed to return home through the Egyptian crossings. However, the West Bank students were evacuated while they did not keep their word to the Gaza Strip students and avoided their duties.”

“120 students are in the street, and we are exposed to bombing at any moment by the fighting forces. We are not known to the fighting groups. They may consider us suspicious and kill us, as they did with the Iraqi student yesterday,” they said.

They noted that bullets and shrapnel from missiles surround them from all sides, and they are exposed to danger and death at any moment because the Embassy backed out on its duty towards them and left them in the middle of the fighting without a solution.

“We have no solutions to escape the crisis we are in, because of the Palestinian Embassy. It is very difficult for us to communicate with others and we will be losing our means of communication soon,” the students said.

The student, Hussein Abu Sitta, one of the two students stranded in Sudan, said that the PA’s Embassy in Khartoum had broken its promise and left the Palestinian students under attack in the most dangerous areas in Sudan, after inviting them to the evacuation area and issued a list of their names.

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He added, during a press interview, that the PA Embassy had broken its promise due to its unwillingness to pay the steep transportation fee.

He stressed that the Embassy kicked the Palestinian students out of the embassy building and left them in the street, despite the serious clashes taking place.

Abu Sitta noted that the Embassy invited 117 students to the Embassy to be evacuated, but the PA Embassy left them and did not fulfil its promise, despite the existence of clashes.

In a press statement, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates confirmed on Monday, 24 April, 2023, that the first convoy carrying 72 Palestinian citizens left the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, to the city of Port Sudan, carrying military students, civilian families and civilian students.

The Foreign Ministry confirmed that “other convoys carrying our nationals moved towards the borders with the Arab Republic of Egypt, carrying about 200 citizens.”

“This is based on instructions from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Riyad Al-Maliki, and the Ministry’s efforts in partnership with military intelligence, the general intelligence service, partner ministries and institutions, and our embassies in Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, according to the statement.

INTERVIEW: For Palestinian evacuee, Sudan war is like nothing he’s seen

Clashes continue in Sudan for the second week in a row, between the Sudanese Army Forces, led by Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti.

This article first appeared in Arabic in the Palestinian Information Centre on 24 April 2023

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.