No Bangladeshi can visit Israel: Momen

Diplomatic Correspondent

27 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has reiterated that the government of Bangladesh has not deviated from its position on Israel and warned of tougher legal action if any Bangladeshi tries to visit Israel.

“No Bangladeshi can visit Israel. If anyone (Bangladeshi citizen) goes to Israel without the government’s permission that person will be liable to be prosecuted…there has been evidence before,” he said, adding that Bangladesh remains on its longstanding position in this regard.

Momen further said the Bangladesh government has never given permission to anyone to visit Israel as the government remains very strong on this matter, which is well-known to all.

The Bangladesh foreign minister made the warning while handing over pharmaceutical products for the people of Palestine to its ambassador in Dhaka Yousef SY Ramadan at state guesthouse Padma on Wednesday.

Bangladesh donated medicine worth Tk 40 lakh to Palestine.

Momen said all government ministries and organisations, including the citizens of the country, are fully aware that Bangladesh does not recognise Israel and bans travel to the country.

Despite Bangladesh’s position, confusion appears to have emanated from the new booklets of e-passports, which does not contain the observation “all countries excepting Israel.”

The foreign ministry says the removal of the observation has been done to maintain international standard of Bangladesh e-passports and does not imply any change of Bangladesh’s foreign policy towards the Middle East.  The ban on travel of Bangladeshi passport holders to Israel remains unchanged, the ministry added.

Clearing the confusion further, the foreign minister said passport is an identity of a citizen which doesn’t relate to a foreign policy of a country.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and other senior officials were also present at the handing over of medicine.