US lawmakers propose bill to halt aid to Maldives over Israeli passport ban

05 Jun 2024 | 22:18
Josh Gottheimer who proposed the bill against Maldives (Photo/Axios)

US lawmakers are preparing to introduce a bill in Congress aimed at halting aid to the Maldives unless the country reverses its decision to ban Israeli passport holders.

According to a report by 'Axios' Americal news website, the proposed legislation is spearheaded by Congressman Josh Gottheimer, who represents New Jersey’s 5th congressional district and is known for his strong support of Israel.

The bill, titled "Protecting Allied Travel Here" (PATH), is being developed with bipartisan support from both Democratic and Republican representatives. Gottheimer emphasized that American taxpayer money should not support a nation that prohibits Israeli citizens from entering.

He condemned the Maldivian government's action as an "unprecedented travel ban" and "a blatant act of Jew hatred," asserting that no American dollars should be given to the Maldives until the ban is lifted.

The Maldivian Cabinet decided to amend its laws to ban Israeli nationals from entering the country during a meeting held on Sunday.

This decision followed an amendment to the Immigration Act proposed by Meekail Ahmed Naseem, a lawmaker from the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), last week.

This move by the Maldivian government comes amid the ongoing genocide by Israel in Gaza, which began on October 7, 2023.

Between 2019 and 2023, the US provided approximately USD 36 million in financial assistance to the Maldives, according to the US Agency for International Development and the State Department.

The PATH bill seeks to withhold further aid until the Maldives rescinds its travel ban on Israeli passport holders.