update deskIsrael at War

Maldives delays travel ban over Palestinians who hold Israeli passports

“The biggest concern is that there are many Palestinians with Israeli passports, millions of them. What happens when we impose a blanket ban?” Attorney General Ahmed Usham said.

The resort island of Landaa Giraavaru in the Maldives. Photo by Frédéric Ducarme/Wikimedia CC BY-SA 4.0.
The resort island of Landaa Giraavaru in the Maldives. Photo by Frédéric Ducarme/Wikimedia CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Maldives has postponed plans to ban Israelis from traveling to the tiny island nation over the war in Gaza after discovering that many Palestinians also hold Israeli passports.

Attorney General Ahmed Usham said at a press conference on June 13 that a blanket ban on Israeli passport holders needs further study while stressing that the government’s stance has not changed, Ynet reported.

“The biggest concern is that there are many Palestinians with Israeli passports, millions of them. What happens when we impose a blanket ban? These are matters that need careful consideration,” remarked Usham, as quoted by Ynet.

An existing proposal in the parliament in the capital of Malé would ban all those with Israeli passports, even if they possess another foreign passport. Parliamentary rules oppose two submitting two bills on the same subject, so Usham suggested amending the previous bill.

He said “we believe the best approach is to take the existing bill and amend it during committee discussions. Therefore, the government will not present an additional bill.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning for the Maldives earlier this month after it declared the travel ban plans, stating: “In light of the Maldives government’s decision to ban the entry of citizens with Israeli passports, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends that Israeli citizens avoid any travel to the Maldives.”

“The recommendation is also valid for Israeli citizens holding a foreign passport, in addition to the Israeli passport. For Israeli citizens staying in the country, it is recommended to consider leaving, since if they fall into distress for any reason, we will have a hard time helping,” the statement added.

Islam is the state religion of the Maldives, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The population is nearly 100% Sunni Muslim. According to its constitution, non-Muslims may not become citizens.

The country is also known for its luxury resorts. According to AP, roughly 11,000 Israelis visited Maldives in 2023, comprising some 0.6% of total tourist arrivals.

Due to public anger at the war in Gaza, Maldives President Mohamed Muizu will establish a subcommittee to oversee the process of banning Israelis and appoint a special envoy to help Arabs affected by the conflict, including with the launch of a fundraising campaign, the newswire reported.

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