Whatever the public perception and the explanations by cabinet members are regarding the passport issue, the government of Bangladesh has taken a big step forward by removing the clause. At least, from now on, the state will not be able to prosecute someone for visiting Israel. As an extra benefit, the country’s declared foreign policy of “friendship to all and malice towards none” will be more meaningful as well.
Recently, the government of Bangladesh dropped the infamous phrase “this passport is valid for all countries of the world except Israel” from its new passports. Now it has become a national issue of debate. (Image source: Tusharkb2) Recently, the government of Bangladesh dropped the infamous phrase “this passport is valid for all countries of the world except Israel” from its new passports. Those words had been prominently inscribed since the country’s independence from Pakistan in 1971. Six months ago, when Bangladeshi government introduced a new machine-readable passport with an electronic chip, the “except Israel” clause was quietly erased with no public announcement. The change was, in a sense, classified.
In early May, a man went to the passport department headquarters to collect the passports of his mother and brother, when he noticed that the clause had been omitted. Through social media, the news went viral. Now it has become a national issue of debate.
Having been informed of the news, the deputy Director-General for Asia and the Pacific with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Gilad Cohen, joyfully tweeted : “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.” The reactionary comments to his tweet from Muslims are notable.
The Jerusalem Post wrote : “Bangladesh has reportedly lifted its travel ban in an unexpected move….” In Bangladesh, however, several cabinet members, especially the home minister and the foreign minister, apparently felt pressure. The reaction had been enormous.
On May 30, the Islamic Movement Bangladesh, a religious party, demanded reinstatement of the clause and a judicial investigation […]
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