Why Were the Thai Guestworker/Hostages Freed So Quickly in Gaza?

And why does Israel have so many of them?

By David North on November 26, 2023

There were said to be two dozen or so Thai guestworkers held hostage by Hamas, and ten of them were freed last week; there were also 240 or so Israelis and foreigners held hostage but only 13 were freed at the same time as the Thais.

Why did such a high proportion of the Thais get released quickly as opposed to the lower proportion of the others? The two dozen or so Thais played the same role in Israel as Mexican and Jamaican H-2As do in the U.S.

I have no first-hand knowledge of the thinking process of the Hamas leadership on this point, but my speculation is that it regards the Thai workers as the least valuable of its hostages, and let ten of them go quickly as a result.

There has been some indication of the Thai government has been seeking their release but that cannot be a major factor in the Hamas calculations.

My sense, also, is that nobody involved with the hostage swap cared very much about the Thai workers, certainly not the Western media. Whereas there were names and biographies and interviews and photos of the thirteen Israelis, there was not even a complete list of the Thai workers. As Orwell might have written, some hostages are more equal than others. The release of the ten was a separate by-product of the release of the thirteen.

Their release also brought to the world’s attention that there are some 30,000 Thai foreign workers in Israel mostly in agriculture, and this raises my question: why would Israel go to the major expense of bringing in workers from 4,300 miles away when there are plenty of unemployed Arabs in Israel, in the West Bank, in Gaza, and in Egypt, none of whom needed a ride in a jet to come to Israel’s farms? India’s masses are also closer than Thailand and Indian workers routinely are employed elsewhere in the Middle East.

Again, I do not have direct information on this point but speculate that Israel is more comfortable with Thai workers than with nearby Arab ones.

We have, in the Mississippi delta a smaller but similar situation: some white Mississippi farmers and catfish growers bringing in white South Africans on work visas as manual laborers rather than employing nearby Black Americans – all with the approval of the Biden administration, as we have reported earlier.