Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) issued the following statement after learning that the State Department’s evacuation plan for Americans in Israel only provides transportation to a third-party country, leaves Americans to book their own lodging and return travel to the United States, and requires Americans to pay for the cost of all transportation. Over 1,200 people have been killed since Hamas invaded Israel last Saturday, including at least 22 Americans, with more being held hostage. It is estimated that there are more than 10 Virginians stuck in Israel amid the ongoing violence.
“My office has received multiple calls from Virginians stuck in the warzone,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “While I am thankful for the initial information provided over the weekend to help my constituents get in touch with the U.S. Embassy, it is far from enough. These people are terrified for their safety and feel abandoned by their government in a foreign country where terrorists are murdering innocent men, women, children, and the elderly. That is unacceptable. With commercial airlines canceling more and more flights out of Israel, I am calling for additional U.S. government-facilitated transport options for Americans trying to get back home to their families. We must do more…we do not leave Americans behind.”
The Bureau of Consular Affairs has informed the Congressional offices that the State Department currently “is not involved with airlifts, an evacuation, or assisted departure of U.S. citizens,” but that they continue to “encourage U.S. citizens to look at the available commercial options to depart Israel.”