Parliament members have emphatically called upon the government to cut off all dealings with Israel amidst the ongoing war in Gaza. The calls for economic sanctions and travel bans against Israel come as part of a resolution proposed by Villingili MP Saud Hussain from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which condemns the ongoing Israeli aggression in Gaza.

During debate on the resolution at Wednesday’s parliament sitting, MP Yasir Abdul Latheef, representing Kulhudhuffushi Uthuru, laid out a set of actions in addition to condemnations. “Banning Israel’s passport, for one thing. Stopping goods imported from Israel, for a second thing,” Yasir specified. 

He proposed that the government should immediately look into the feasibility of barring Israeli citizens from entering the Maldives, and halting any imports from the country. Yasir also suggested an immediate ban on any Maldivian government official interacting with Israel and preventing Maldivians from promoting the country.

“My proposal is, let us go to another step – introducing and enforcing these things that we want in the form of a law,” Yasir said.

Makunudhoo MP Mohamed Raee expressed his belief that the Maldivian government should have proactively banned Israeli tourists in anticipation of the sentiment among the Maldivian populace. Raee urged the Maldivian political parties and the government to partake in efforts to support the people of Palestine.

The Maldivian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Shahid, took to social media to confirm that the government will donate two million cans of tuna to Palestine. “This donation is a symbol of our deepest solidarity with the people of Palestine,” Shahid noted, amplifying the decision made by President Ibrahim Mohamed.

The Maldives has a long and committed history of advocating for the rights of Palestine. The island nation was among those that called for a tenth emergency special session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) after the United States vetoed a draft resolution regarding the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Maldives and other nations are also urging the UNGA President to resume the General Assembly Special Session under the ‘Uniting for Peace’ resolution.

Since the attacks launched by Hamas on 7 October, Israeli forces have killed over 6,500 Palestinians and wounded more than 15,000. The majority of the casualties are women and children. Observers describe Israeli aggression in Gaza as a clear act of genocide and war crimes committed against the Palestinian people.

Additional reporting by Ibrahim H. Shihab