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A view of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh and most densely populated city in the world. Photo: PixabayPhotos.

Bangladesh lifts Israel passport ban

i24 News – Bangladesh, the world’s third-most populous Muslim nation, announced Saturday that its new passports will no longer bear the words that the travel document is applicable for all countries “Except Israel.”

It holds out the prospect that traveling from the South Asian country to the world’s only Jewish state could shortly become a possibility.

The announcement is another foreign policy success that many credit to former President Donald Trump. In December 2020, Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis told Israel’s Ynet TV that, in terms of normalization between Bangladesh and Israel: “We are working in that direction.”

“I believe … there will be an American announcement about another country that is going public with the normalization of relations with Israel and, in essence, with the infrastructure for an accord – a peace accord,” he said.

The Trump administration had stated just before the inauguration of Joe Biden that it had needed just a few more weeks to secure additional agreements between Israel and Muslim nations around the world.

The passport issue is seen as a big step towards those goals.

READ: Israel vs Hamas. Here’s what you need to know.

Although Bangladeshi officials did confirm the removal of the “except Israel” clause, other senior politicians insisted that the new ruling had not marked a change in Dhaka’s Middle East policy. Bangladesh does not recognize Israel’s existence and Bangladeshis were prohibited from traveling there until now.

An unnamed spokesperson for the Home Ministry, asked about the possibility of Bangladeshis traveling to Israel, said: “If you want to go to another country, you need a visa,” reported the Times of Israel.

Gilad Cohen, deputy director-general for Asia and the Pacific at Israel’s Foreign Ministry, welcomed the development and called on the Bangladeshi government to establish diplomatic ties with Israel, which it presently does not have.

https://twitter.com/GiladCohen_/status/1396155072392933378

Despite a seeming thaw in relations on a governmental level, thousands of people recently attended a pro-Palestinian rally in Dhaka during the recent flare-up of violence between the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and Israel.

–In partnership with I24News

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