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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Washington Prepares Sanctions Against Maldives for Banning Israeli Passport Holders


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In a significant geopolitical development, Washington is preparing to impose sanctions on the Maldives in response to its decision to ban Israeli passport holders. The Maldivian government’s move, which it justifies as a stance against Israel’s military actions in Gaza, has drawn sharp criticism from U.S. lawmakers.

The Maldives, renowned for its luxury resorts and idyllic beaches, announced its intention to amend national entry laws to prevent Israeli passport holders from entering the country. The decision of Maldivian President Dr Mohammed Muizzu, linked to alleged war crimes associated with Israel’s operations in Gaza, has sparked outrage among U.S. politicians who see it as a discriminatory act.

Leading the charge against the Maldives is Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ). Known for his staunch support of Israel, Gottheimer is drafting the Protecting Allied Travel Here (PATH) Act, which aims to cut off U.S. assistance to the Maldives unless it rescinds the travel ban. “Taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be sent to a foreign nation that has banned all Israeli citizens from traveling to their country,” Gottheimer stated. He further condemned the Maldives’ actions as “a blatant act of Jew hatred,” emphasizing the strong alliance between the United States and Israel.

The PATH Act would condition U.S. aid to the Maldives on the country’s relaxation of its travel restrictions against Israeli citizens. This legislative move is seen as a form of sanctions that could significantly impact the Maldives, a Muslim-majority nation heavily reliant on international aid and tourism.

The Maldivian government, however, remains steadfast in its position. It frames the travel ban as an act of solidarity with the Palestinian people. This is not the first time the Maldives has taken such a stance; in December, it imposed a docking ban on Israeli ships, further straining relations.

The unfolding situation underscores the complex dynamics of international relations and the balancing act nations perform in their foreign policies. The Maldives’ actions reflect its alignment with Palestinian causes, while the U.S. response highlights its commitment to defending Israel against perceived injustices.

As this legislative battle progresses, the outcome will have significant implications for U.S.-Maldivian relations and could set a precedent for how the U.S. handles similar situations in the future. For now, the Maldives stands firm in its decision, while Washington gears up to leverage its legislative power to enforce a reversal.

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