Israel tells citizens to leave Maldives after island's government bans nationals over Gaza war

3 June 2024, 15:00 | Updated: 3 June 2024, 15:19

Maldives bans Israeli passport holders from entering country over Gaza conflict
Maldives bans Israeli passport holders from entering country over Gaza conflict. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle de Wolfe

The Maldives has announced a ban on all Israeli's entering the country in response to the ongoing war in Gaza.

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Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu announced on Monday that the government had changed the law in order to ban Israeli passport holders from the island nation.

The predominantly Muslim country, which forms part of a wider Indian Ocean archipelago, has seen public anger grow in recent weeks over the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict.

it comes despite nearly 11,000 Israelis visiting the Maldives last year - a number which constitutes 0.6% of the country's total tourist arrivals.

Frequented by newlyweds and holidaymakers alike, the island's crystalline waters and white sandy beaches have seen it become a go-to for those looking to enjoy a luxury getaway.

The Maldives has announced a ban on all Israeli's entering the country in response to the ongoing war in Gaza.
The Maldives has announced a ban on all Israeli's entering the country in response to the ongoing war in Gaza. Picture: Alamy

Now, the president has announced the ban following advice from his cabinet, adding that the nation will establish a subcommittee tasked with overseeing the process of identifying would-be Israeli holidaymakers.

In response to the claims, Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Oren Marmorstein, said the Foreign Ministry recommends Israelis avoid any travel to the Maldives.

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He added that this including those with foreign passports and that holidaymakers who are currently visiting the island should now consider leaving.

“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.

The Maldives has announced a ban on all Israeli's entering the country in response to the ongoing war in Gaza.
The Maldives has announced a ban on all Israeli's entering the country in response to the ongoing war in Gaza. Picture: Alamy

President Muizu added that the Maldives would appoint a special envoy to assess the needs of Palestinian.

It added that a fundraising campaign had been launched to “assist our brothers and sisters in Palestine” according to a press release.

The fundraising effort will go under the slogan “Maldivians in Solidarity with Palestine”.

“Together with the government and people of Maldives, I call for an immediate ceasefire, an end to violence and unhindered humanitarian access,” the president posted to X formerly known as Twitter last week.

It follows condemnation from the president following last week's Israeli airstrike on Rafah.

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