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Bangladesh drops ‘except Israel’ from new passports, but no change in stance on Palestine

Bangladesh’s new passports won’t have the words ‘valid in all countries except Israel’. Israel welcomes move, urges Bangladesh to normalise diplomatic ties.

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New Delhi: New Bangladesh passports will no longer preclude its validity in Israel in an effort to encourage visits to the West Asian country. However, Dhaka’s position on the Israel-Palestine issue remains unchanged, its foreign ministry said Sunday.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen said the move to remove the words “valid in all countries except Israel”, comes in a bid to “maintain global standards”, while adding that Dhaka’s position of not recognising Israel as a country remains unchanged, according to local reports.

“There has been no change in Bangladesh’s position on Israel as it still does not recognise the country. Removing the words ‘except Israel’ in the new passport does not mean that there has been a change in Bangladesh’s position,” Momen said.

The decision comes at a time when tensions between Israel and Palestine are high, with both sides resorting to rocket attacks and airstrikes that killed and wounded thousands of civilians.

After 11 days of raging violence, both Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas called for a ceasefire on 21 May.

Also read: India had an ‘understanding’ of our actions during Gaza confrontation, says Israeli diplomat

Bangladesh stand on Israel

Bangladesh’s Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told a news channel the new policy has been made keeping in mind the changing trends globally. He added that the old policy is something that even the Arab world does not follow anymore.

“This (feature) was there in the old passports, but new passports will now be issued where this stands removed… Bangladesh has not yet established diplomatic ties with Israel and neither does it recognise the country,” he said.

Bangladesh has never recognised Israel as a country, nor established diplomatic ties with it in support for Palestine.

Palestine has a fully operational embassy in Dhaka.

Israel says great news

Israel welcomed the development and urged Bangladesh to normalise ties with them.

“Great news! #Bangladesh has removed travel ban to Israel. This is a welcome step & I call on the Bangladeshi government to move forward and establish diplomatic ties with #Israel so both our peoples could benefit & prosper,” Gilad Cohen, Deputy Director General for Asia and the Pacific at Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a tweet.

“Looking forward to work with the government of Bangladesh, so much added value we can bring to each other!” tweeted Ron Malka, Israel Ambassador to India.

Twelve other countries do not recognise Israel or admit Israeli passport holders — Algeria, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen.

Also read: India friend to both Israel and Palestine, must call for immediate ceasefire: Palestine envoy


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