Washington Preparing To Punish Maldives For Banning Israeli Passport Holders

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Jun 06, 2024 - 11:20 PM

US lawmakers are outraged at the Maldives for its recent decision to ban Israeli passport holders from entering the country due to war crimes connected with Israel's controversial military operations in Gaza.

The Indian Ocean archipelago state is known for its luxury resorts and high-end travel in scenic, paradise beach locations. The president’s office announced Sunday that the cabinet is moving to update national entry laws in order to bar Israeli passport holders' entry.

NurPhoto via Getty Images

But US Congress members are working punish the Maldives over the controversial move, with Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) drafting legislation that could slash all aid to the Muslim-majority nation.

Gottheimer, who has long been known as a staunch and outspoken supporter of Israel, is "working with colleagues in both parties on the bill, which will be called the Protecting Allied Travel Here (PATH) Act," according to Axios.

The law would condition US aid to the Maldives based on lifting its travel ban. This would in effect be a form of sanctions as it would bar current aid.

"Taxpayer dollars shouldn't be sent to a foreign nation that has banned all Israeli citizens from traveling to their country," Gottheimer said in a statement.

He added: "Not only is Israel one of our greatest democratic allies, but the Maldives' unprecedented travel ban is nothing but a blatant act of Jew-hatred. They shouldn't get a cent of American dollars until they reverse course."

But the government of the Maldives has presented its anti-Israel policies as "in solidarity with Palestinians". Already in December the country imposed a docking ban, disallowing Israeli ships from using its ports.

Maldives' President Mohamed Muizzu, via AFP

The Times of Israel has previously noted that "Nearly 11,000 Israelis visited the country last year, accounting for 0.6 percent of the Maldives' foreign tourist arrivals."

There are 27 other Muslim-majority countries in the world which currently have a ban on Israeli passport holders - many of them located in the Middle East and North Africa.