Sunday 21st Jul 2024
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US Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Cut Aid to Maldives Over Israel Passport Ban**

In a significant move, Republican Congressman Josh Gottheimer has announced plans to introduce a bill aimed at cutting US aid to the Maldives. This action comes in response to the Maldives' recent decision to restrict entry for Israelis, sparking concern among American lawmakers.
Gottheimer, known for his staunch support of Israel, views the Maldives' ban on Israeli citizens as a provocative and unacceptable measure. The congressman, representing the lower house of the US House of Representatives, asserts that such actions against America's closest ally cannot be tolerated.
The proposed bill, titled the Protection of Travel Of Citizens of Friendly Countries Bill, or 'Protecting Allied Travel Here[Path]', is backed by Democrats and aims to leverage US financial assistance to pressure the Maldives into reversing its decision. Under the bill's provisions, the US government would withhold aid to the Maldives until Israeli citizens are permitted entry.
Expressing his concerns, Gottheimer stated, "The decision to ban all Israelis from entering the country was aimed at provoking anger against Jews." He emphasized that the United States cannot condone such discriminatory policies, especially against a key ally like Israel.
According to reports from Axios, the Maldives' ban on Israelis has prompted Gottheimer to take swift action. He emphasized that unless the Maldives rescinds its decision, the US cannot justify allocating taxpayer money to a nation that enforces such restrictive measures.
The potential impact of this bill is significant, considering that the US has provided approximately $36 million (equivalent to RF 555 million) in financial assistance to the Maldives over the past four years, according to data from the State Department.
The move by Gottheimer underscores the growing diplomatic tensions between the United States and the Maldives, highlighting the broader implications of visa restrictions on Israeli citizens. As discussions unfold in Washington, the fate of US aid to the Maldives hangs in the balance, contingent upon the Maldives' stance on the contentious issue of Israeli passport holders' entry.