Maldives Bans Israelis From Entering Country During War In Gaza

In a statement, the President of Maldives, Mohammed Muizzu, announced a ban on Israelis entering the country, citing the ongoing war in Gaza as the reason.

Maldives Bans Israelis From Entering Country During War In Gaza 1

In what appears to be retaliation for the conflict in Gaza, the Maldives, a popular tourist destination in the Indian Ocean, has now prohibited Israelis from entering its borders.

The majority-Muslim island nation’s administration declared that, on the advice of his cabinet, President Mohammed Muizzu implemented the ban this week.

“The Cabinet decision includes amending necessary laws to prevent Israeli passport holders from entering the Maldives and establishing a Cabinet subcommittee to oversee these efforts,” his office said in a statement, adding that “the President decided to appoint a special envoy to assess Palestinian needs.” 

“The President further decided to set up a fundraising campaign to assist our brothers and sisters in Palestine with the help of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and to conduct a nationwide rally under the slogan ‘Falastheenaa Eku Dhivehin,’ which translates to ‘Maldivians in Solidarity with Palestine’ to show support,” the statement also said. 

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Israeli soldiers, left, are seen working on a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border on May 29. The Maldives, right, has now banned Israelis from entering the country. (AP/Tsafrir Abayov/Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Allegations have surfaced recently against UNRWA, claiming that some of its staff members took part in the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, which started the Gaza War.

In response to Muizzu’s prohibition, Israel’s foreign ministry advised Israelis 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 said, according to Reuters. 

In response to a Fox News Digital request for comment on Monday, the U.S. State Department, which claimed last year to have given the Maldives $36 million in bilateral foreign assistance since 2018, did not immediately answer.

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Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu delivers a national statement at the World Climate Action Summit during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Dec. 1, 2023. (Reuters/Amr Alfiky)

Maldivian constitutions “designate Islam as the state religion, require citizens to be Muslims, and require public office holders, including the President, to be followers of Sunni Islam,” according to the State Department.

“The law states that both the government and the people must protect religious unity, and propagation of any religion other than Islam is a criminal offense,” it adds. 

Roughly 11,000 Israelis traveled to the Maldives in the previous year, making up 0.6% of all visitors, according to The Associated Press.

At the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research, stated that “the Maldives government now aligns itself with the likes of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Syria, Algeria, Kuwait, and other authoritarian Muslim world states,” which also forbid the holding of Israeli passports.

“This will not likely bode well for the Maldives over time. Joining this alliance is often a sign of corruption, radicalization, and even exploitation by outside actors,” he added.

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An aerial view of Male, the capital of the Maldives. (Matt Hunt/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The Congress of Christian Leaders’ president, Rev. Johnnie Moore, reacted to the prohibition on X by stating, “If the Maldives aren’t safe for Israelis, then they aren’t safe for any of us.”

“The Congress of Christian Leaders is issuing a global travel warning: no Christian should feel safe in a country where Islamic extremists determine national policy,” he also said. 

Recently, GreatGameIndia reported that EU foreign ministers are seriously considering sanctions against Israel if it defies the ICJ’s order to halt its military operation in Rafah, according to Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin, following recent attacks in the area.

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