The Maldives Bodyboarding Association (MBBA) has expressed serious concerns over the safety of local and international boardriders due to “a disturbing lack of respect” displayed by visiting Israeli surfers. In a statement released on Saturday, the association said that “they have posed threats to the safety of locals and others, resorting to both verbal and physical aggression.”

The MBBA statement further condemned, and called for an end to, Israel’s inhumane and unjust actions against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. This follows Israel’s continued bombardment of Gaza since 7 October, killing more than 4,385 Palestinians, including over 1,000 children.

The MBBA also noted that Israeli nationals have been discreetly involved in the Maldives’ tourism sector at various levels and urges resort owners, guesthouse proprietors, safari operators, and tour operators to sever their affiliations with such Israelis.

In its statement, MBBA also urged the Maldivian government “to enforce a ban on the entry of Israelis to the Maldives” and to continue any efforts aimed at halting the inhumane actions of Israel and showing solidarity with the Palestinians. The association also called on the government to assist the Palestinians in any way possible.

Observers say that rhetoric and actions, both by the Israeli surfers and by Israel, their allies, and Israeli-aligned interests, continue to epitomise a broadly antiquated colonialist view of superiority over ‘others,’ particularly the Palestinian people whose land they occupy while imposing their unique system of apartheid on a population that has been oppressed for decades. “Unsurprisingly nations with colourful colonialist pasts, including the subjugation and oppression of entire peoples, continue to be vocal in their support towards abhorrent Israeli actions that human rights experts agree are war crimes against the Palestinian people and the rest of the civilised global community,” one observer said.

While over 4,385 Palestinians have so far been killed by Israeli forces, with more than 15,000 injured, most of them are women and children, the number of dead and wounded have been increasing exponentially on a day-to-today basis. Entire generations of families have been wiped out in what many observers call “a clear act of genocide and war crimes against the Palestinian people, carried out by Israel’s oppressive apartheid regime.”