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Maldives President Muizzu Implements Ban on Israeli Visitors, Launches Solidarity Campaign for Palestine


The Maldives has banned visitors with Israeli passports due to growing public anger over the ongoing war in Gaza. “President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, following a recommendation from the Cabinet, has resolved to impose a ban on Israeli passports,” stated a release from his office. Specific details of the ban were not provided.

On Sunday, the president’s office announced that the Cabinet decided to amend necessary laws to prevent Israeli passport holders from entering the country and establish a subcommittee to oversee these efforts. President Muizzu announced a national fundraising campaign to support Palestinians and a nationwide rally titled “Maldivians in Solidarity with Palestine.”

This decision is a protest against Israel’s actions in Gaza and comes amid increasing pressure on President Muizzu from opposition parties and allies within the government. The ban followed Muizzu’s condemnation of an Israeli airstrike that caused a fire, killing 45 people in a tent camp in Rafah, which was considered a “safe zone” for civilians.

“Strongly condemn the deadly attack by Israeli forces on the tent camp in Rafah, where displaced Palestinians were taking shelter. Israel must abide by the ICJ rulings. No country is exempt from international law. Together with the Government and people of Maldives, I call for an immediate ceasefire, an end to violence and unhindered humanitarian access,” Muizzu posted on social media platform X.

In response, the Israeli foreign ministry advised its citizens to avoid traveling to the Maldives. “For Israeli citizens already in the country, it is recommended to consider leaving, because if they find themselves in distress for any reason, it will be difficult for us to assist,” the ministry’s statement read.

The Maldives previously lifted a ban on Israeli tourists in the early 1990s and made efforts to restore relations in 2010. However, these efforts faced setbacks following the ouster of former president Mohamed Nasheed in February 2012.

According to Maldives government data, 528 Israeli nationals visited the country in the first four months of 2024, a drop from 4,644 during the same period last year.

The Maldives is not the only country to ban Israeli passport holders. Countries such as Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen also deny entry to Israeli citizens. In response to a viral post listing these countries, the official X account of the State of Israel commented, “We’re good.”

Israeli law designates Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Iran as enemy nations, requiring Israeli citizens to obtain a special permit from the Ministry of the Interior to visit these countries.

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