Bangladesh denies normalization with Tel Aviv despite removing caveat from passports

Special Bangladesh denies normalization with Tel Aviv despite removing caveat from passports
Bangladeshi men hold Palestinian flags as they participate in a protest against Israeli attacks on Palestinians in Gaza, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, May 21, 2021. (AP)
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Updated 24 May 2021

Bangladesh denies normalization with Tel Aviv despite removing caveat from passports

Bangladesh denies normalization with Tel Aviv despite removing caveat from passports
  • Dhaka and Tel Aviv have no diplomatic ties and Bangladeshi passport holders are banned from traveling to Israel
  • Rumors about policy change emerged after tweets by an Israeli diplomat who welcomed the caveat removal

DHAKA: Authorities in Dhaka said on Sunday that their position toward Tel Aviv remained unchanged despite the removal from Bangladeshi e-passports of a caveat banning their holders from traveling to Israel.  

Dhaka and Tel Aviv have no diplomatic ties and Bangladeshi passport holders are banned from traveling to Israel. The caveat written on its passports states that the travel documents are “valid for all countries of the world, except Israel.”

Rumors about the ban’s removal emerged after a Saturday tweet by Gilad Cohen, the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s deputy director general for Asia and the Pacific, who shared photos showing the first pages of the old version of a Bangladeshi passport and a new one without the caveat.

He said that it was as “a welcome step” and called on Dhaka to “move forward and establish diplomatic ties with Israel.”

Dhaka denied the plans.

“The ban on travel of Bangladeshi passport holders to Israel remains unchanged. The Government of Bangladesh has not deviated from its position on Israel and Bangladesh remains firm on its longstanding position in this regard,” the Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It explained that the removal of the “except Israel” reservation was made to maintain the “international standard of Bangladeshi e-passports” and “does not imply any change of Bangladesh’s foreign policy toward the Middle East.”

“Bangladesh reiterates its principled position concerning the two-state solution of the Palestine-Israel conflict in light of the UN resolutions recognizing pre-1967 borders and East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine,” the ministry said.

It also condemned attacks by Israeli “occupation forces” on Palestinians at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and recent Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, which between May 10 and May 21 killed more than 240 people, destroyed thousands of homes and disabled critical infrastructure in the Palestinian territory.