Maldives Bans Israeli Passport Holders Amid Gaza Conflict

Maldives Bans Israeli Passport Holders Amid Gaza Conflict


Farah Fazanna •  Jun 04, 2024

In a show of solidarity with the people of Gaza, the Maldives government has announced a ban on Israeli passport holders. This decision comes as public anger rises in the predominantly Muslim nation over the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu

Credit: Rafiq Maqbool/AP

President Mohamed Muizzu has resolved to impose the ban, though details on the implementation timeline are yet to be disclosed. In addition, Muizzu has launched a national fundraising campaign titled “Maldivians in Solidarity with Palestine” to support the besieged population of Gaza.

The Maldives, known for its stunning white sand beaches and luxury resorts, welcomed nearly 11,000 Israeli tourists last year, representing 0.6% of total arrivals. However, this number has sharply declined, with only 528 Israeli visitors in the first four months of this year, an 88% drop from the same period last year.

The move to ban Israeli passport holders follows pressure from opposition parties and government allies, who have called for stronger action against the Gaza war. The conflict has resulted in significant Palestinian casualties, with over 36,000 killed and more than 82,000 injured since early October.

The Maldives had previously lifted a ban on Israeli tourists in the early 1990s and attempted to normalize relations in 2010. These efforts were interrupted following the ousting of President Mohamed Nasheed in 2012.

In response to the new ban, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman has advised Israeli citizens currently in the Maldives to consider leaving, citing potential difficulties in providing assistance if they encounter any problems.

Israeli passport holders are also barred from entering several other countries, including Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen.