MDP concerned on Israeli passport ban delay

During the press conference by the parliamentary group of MDP; the party expressed concerns over the possible delays in officially banning Israeli passports -- Photo/ Parliament

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has expressed concern over the delays in banning Israeli passports.

According to the opposition party, Israeli passport ban could have been achieved by a presidential decree easily, and expressed worries over the route taken by the current administration to seek a legislative amendment of the relevant law.

At Monday's cabinet meeting, the ministers advised President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu to ban Israeli passports and restrict Israeli arrivals to the Maldives, in light of ongoing offensives by the country against Palestine.

South-Galolhu MP Meekail Naseem welcomed the government's decision to ban Israeli passports at Monday's press conference by the minority party's press conference.

He however, added that the issue could have easily solved the matter by way of a presidential decree, but chose the longer route of seeking statutory amendment, which the party is concerned about.

 "We would have welcomed it even more if the government chose to ban Israeli passports directly with a presidential decree, but their decision would stretch the efforts longer," Meekail said.

"We do not know when this would be achieved, or whether it would be achieved or not."

The South-Galolhu MP had submitted a bill seeking to amend the Immigration Act to ensure Israeli passport ban.

Meekail noted the presence of the bill he submitted, with debates currently ongoing, and inquired the need for a second bill on the same subject.

He added that the MDP-submitted bill could be endorsed to ensure the same end result, and can be amended at committee-stage.

"We really do not understand the need to repeat the same process twice. It could have been achieved with a presidential decree, and they have parliament supermajority status. They are not lacking in MPs," the MDP-aligned member added.

At Monday's press conference, Minister of Homeland Security and Technology Ali Ihusan assured the government intends to expedite all efforts in ensuring Israeli passports are banned formally. The minister promised expedited efforts of legislative amendment as well.

While the Maldives attracts over one million tourists annually, an average of 15,000 Israeli travelers visit the island nation each year.

The passport ban is the latest by the Maldives to show its solidarity with the Palestinian people, and their cause. There have been a number of efforts by the Maldivian government to bring the situation to international community's attention, more recently, the statements made by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu at the 4th International Conference of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS4).

Since Israel launched its offensive against Palestine on October 07th, over 36,000 Palestinian lives have been lost in multiple attacks, most of whom are women and children.

The government's formal decision for an Israeli passport ban had come following protests by Maldivian locals for the urging same for some time.