Maldives to bar Israeli passport holders from entering country


The Maldives has decided to impose a ban on Israeli citizens entering the Muslim-majority island nation over Tel Aviv’s ongoing genocide in Gaza.

“President Dr Mohamed Muizzu, following a recommendation from the Cabinet, has resolved to impose a ban on Israeli passports,” the president’s office said in a statement.

The decision includes amending necessary laws to prevent Israeli passport holders from entering the Maldives and establishing a Cabinet subcommittee to oversee these efforts.

In addition to the ban, Muizzu will appoint a special envoy to assess the needs of the Palestinians and launch a fundraising campaign with the help of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

Official data also shows the number of Israelis visiting the Maldives dropped to 528 in the first four months of this year, down 88% compared to the corresponding period last year.

Opposition parties and government allies in the Maldives have been putting pressure on Muizzu to ban Israelis as a sign of protest against the Gaza war.

The Maldives lifted a previous ban on Israeli tourists in the early 1990s and moved to restore relations in 2010. However, normalisation attempts were scuttled following the toppling of President Mohamed Nasheed in February 2012.

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In response to the ban, an Israel foreign ministry spokesman urged citizens currently in the Maldives to depart. “For Israeli citizens staying in the country, it is recommended to consider leaving, since if they fall into distress for any reason, it will be difficult for us to help.”

And in a post on X in March, the State of Israel said: “We’re good,” in response to a post about these countries’ entry bans, which had been in place prior to the onset of the ongoing war in Gaza.

Israeli passport holders have also not been allowed to enter Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since the October 7 attack, which killed some 1,200 Israelis.

More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israel began its onslaught nearly eight months ago. Most of those killed are women and children, with over 82,000 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid Israel’s crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war.

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