Despite delays in imposing a ban on the entry of Israeli nationals, the Maldives continues to lead in advocating for Palestinian rights on the global stage, according to Heena Waleed, Chief Spokesperson for the administration.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Waleed faced questions from local media about the administration’s hesitance to prohibit Israeli passport holders from entering the Maldives. Despite the 19th parliament passing a resolution on 1 April calling for a ban on Israeli citizens and goods manufactured in Israel, Waleed was unable to provide a clear answer on the administration’s policy regarding the matter.

Waleed asserted, “Given the substantial contributions the Maldives has made to advancing Palestinian rights on the international stage, I am convinced that no other nation has demonstrated the same level commitment to the Palestinian cause as the Maldives.”

The parliament’s resolution, a response to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and genocide in Gaza, called for an immediate suspension of all relations between Israel and the Maldives. On 16 November 2023, the 19th parliament sent a letter to President Muizzu advising the cessation of entry permissions for Israeli passport holders.

The Muizzu administration, however, has only confirmed that it is reviewing the parliament’s recommendations. A decision will be made once the review by committees, composed of cabinet ministers, is complete, the government earlier said. The status of the review and the administration’s subsequent course of action remain unclear.

At Wednesday’s press conference, Waleed deftly skirted around questions about banning entry for Israeli passport holders, instead focusing on the administration’s commitment to “defend the people of Palestine” and to take necessary measures to safeguard Palestinian rights.

“The Maldives will implement every essential action to safeguard the rights of the Palestinians; Maldives stands ready to undertake every requisite step,” Waleed reiterated.

The Maldives has been a vocal advocate for Palestine’s right to self-determination and statehood. It has used every international platform to urge the global community to halt the genocide perpetrated by Israeli occupational forces in the Palestinian Territories, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Maldives also backed South Africa’s case in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which deemed Israel’s actions in Gaza as “genocide” and later ordered the occupational forces to cease their attack on the Palestinian people in Rafah and withdraw from the city.