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Maldives bans Israeli tourists, asking those who stay in the country to “leave”

Maldives bans Israeli tourists, asking those who stay in the country to "leave"
Jun 2, 2024 8:03 PM

The Maldives, an Indian Ocean republic, banned Israeli tourists, according to President Mohamed Muizzu’s office on Sunday. This gesture is part of a nationwide demonstration in “solidarity with Palestine.”

The Maldives, an Islamic republic of over 1,000 coral islands, is well-known for its gorgeous beaches, blue lagoons, and opulent resorts. President Muizzu’s administration issued a statement stating the decision to “impose a ban on Israeli passports,” but no information on the implementation date was offered.

In addition to the prohibition, Muizzu launched a countrywide fundraising campaign called “Maldivians in Solidarity with Palestine.”

The Maldives earlier removed its ban on Israeli tourists in the early 1990s, with the goal of fully restoring relations by 2010. However, efforts to improve relations were hampered by President Mohamed Nasheed’s ouster in February 2012.

Recent pressure from opposition parties and government supporters has prompted President Muizzu to impose this restriction in protest of the continuing Gaza conflict. Official records show a huge reduction in Israeli tourists, with only 528 visiting in the first four months of this year, representing an 88 percent fall from the same period last year.

In reaction to the prohibition, a representative for Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended people rethink their travel plans to the Maldives. “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,” stated the spokesperson.

The Gaza War, which began with Hamas’ unprecedented onslaught on Israel on October 7, has resulted in massive losses. According to a calculation based on official Israeli data, the initial attack killed 1,189 individuals, the majority of whom were civilians. Hamas terrorists also kidnapped 252 hostages, of whom 121 remain in Gaza, including 37 who the IDF believes are dead.

According to estimates from the Hamas-run health ministry, Israel’s retaliatory attacks have killed at least 36,439 persons in Gaza, the majority of whom were civilians.

As the situation evolves, the Maldives’ stance on Israeli tourism represents a significant shift in foreign policy, reflecting the region’s greater geopolitical difficulties.

Last Updated:  Jun 5, 2024 5:48 PM