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Israel bans entry of Malaysia diplomats to Palestine

December 4, 2019 at 11:18 am

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad in Ankara, Turkey on 26 July 2019 [Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency]

Israel has banned Malay officials from crossing its border and access the occupied Palestinian territories in apparent retaliation for anti-occupation remarks made by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad.

Maan reported the Israeli Foreign Minister saying that the Malaysian diplomats would not be allowed to enter Israel or the occupied West Bank.

“Malaysia is a state headed by an anti-Semitic leader,” a senior official said, according to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

Every year, about 40,000 Malaysian and Indonesian nationals are allowed to enter Israel, the Foreign Ministry official said.

He noted that these would continue to be allowed admittance, but “the Malaysian diplomats will not be able to come. When they change their policy, we will change ours.”

In late October, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad announced that his country is to open an accredited embassy to Palestine.

“We know that Israel will not allow Malaysia to open an embassy in the Occupied Territory. As such, we will open the embassy in Jordan,” Mohammad announced.

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