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Maldives to ban entry to Israeli passport holders to protest Gaza war | Maldives

Maldives

Israeli Foreign Ministry warns against travel to archipelago, calls on citizens to consider leaving after president’s announcement

Staff and tutor agencies

The Maldives announced it would bar Israelis from entering the country, known for its luxury resorts, and the president’s office made the announcement amid public anger in the majority country. Muslim population is rising because of the war in Gaza.

President Mohamed Muizzu has “decided to impose a ban on Israeli passports,” a spokesperson for his office said in a statement, without giving details on when the new law would come into force.

In response, the Israeli Foreign Ministry on Sunday recommended that Israeli citizens not travel to the Maldives. The recommendation, the Israeli ministry said, included Israelis with dual nationality.

“For Israeli citizens already in the country, it is recommended that they consider leaving, because if they find themselves in distress for any reason, it will be difficult for us to help them,” the ministry said in a statement.

Opposition parties and their government allies in the Maldives pressured Muizzu to ban Israelis, in protest against the war in Gaza.

The president’s office said Sunday that the cabinet had decided to change laws to prevent Israeli passport holders from entering the country and create a subcommittee to oversee the process.

Muizzu also announced a national fundraising campaign called “Maldivians in Solidarity with Palestine”.

The Maldives lifted a previous ban on Israeli tourists in the early 1990s and decided to restore relations in 2010.

However, attempts at normalization failed after the overthrow of President Mohamed Nasheed in February 2012.

The Maldives is a small Islamic republic made up of more than 1,000 strategically located coral islets, known for its secluded white-sand beaches, shallow turquoise lagoons and Robinson Crusoe-style getaways.

Official data shows that the number of Israelis visiting the Maldives fell to 528 in the first four months of this year, an 88% drop compared to the same period last year.

Nearly 11,000 Israelis visited the Maldives in 2023, representing 0.6% of total tourist arrivals.

With Agence France-Presse, Associated Press and Reuters

News Source : amp.theguardian.com
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