The Parliament has voted to accept for consideration an amendment bill proposed by the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which seeks to impose a ban on the entry of Israeli passport holders into the Maldives.

This proposal comes in the wake of Israel’s deadly military offensive on Gaza, launched on 7 October 2023. The MDP’s bill, tabled by South Galolhu MP Meekail Naseem, is seen as a measure to exert pressure on the Israeli government to halt the offensive and killing of innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip.

While presenting the bill on the parliament floor, MP Naseem appealed to lawmakers of the People’s National Congress (PNC) to transcend political differences and lend bipartisan support for the passage of the bill. He stated that the purpose of submitting the bill was to ensure the Maldives takes action against Israel that “holds water.”

The proposed bill seeks to amend the Maldives Immigration Act, aiming to prevent Israeli passport holders, including those holding dual passports, from entering the Maldives. The PNC parliamentary group expressed support for MP Naseem’s proposal at Monday’s sitting.

PNC parliamentary group leader, Inguraidhoo MP Ibrahim Falah, voiced the support of the government-aligned PNC lawmakers for MP Naseem’s bill. “This bill to amend the Maldives Immigration Act presented by the esteemed lawmaker for South Galolhu, in my opinion, is a significant bill,” MP Falah said.

At Monday’s sitting, parliament voted to forward the bill to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security Services for further review. Parliament accepted MP Naseem’s bill with 87 votes in favour, marking a significant step in the Maldives’ response to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.