Palestine ambassador Yousef Ramadan said he clarified his position to the ambassador-at-large. At that time, the ambassador-at-large again assured the Palestine ambassador of bringing no change to Bangladesh’s foreign policy towards Middle East and Bangladesh’s support to the people of Palestine remains unchanged and will be so.
Yousef Ramadan told this correspondent, “Bangladesh has been maintaining a relationship with Palestine since the 1971 independence war. However, I was very saddened over news on the new decision about passport. ” He said, “The foreign minister’s remarks on not changing Bangladesh’s foreign policy have been politically good enough for me.”
The Palestine ambassador further said the issue of Bangladeshi passport came at a time when atrocities were underway in Gaza and its neighbouring areas. It shouldn’t happen because the blood of the Palestinian children at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces hasn’t dried as yet. He said the change in Bangladeshi passport has turned into a gift for Israel. The Israeli foreign ministry even tweeted joyfully about it. This decision has given a wrong message.
The ambassador hoped Bangladesh would change its decision saying Bangladesh is an independent and sovereign country and the country itself will take the final decision.
The Palestine ambassador, however, disagreed with Bangladesh’s explanation on the change in its passport. He said the global standard that was mentioned is not correct. Has the passport of Bangladesh not maintained global standard over 50 years, he asked.
Citing the Malaysian passport ranks 20th globally, the Palestine ambassador said the Malaysian passport still contains the travel ban to Israel. How was the standard of that country’s passport so high? The ambassador said, “I don’t know what reason was behind the change in passport of Bangladesh. I think a few people have been involved in this.”
He said he wants to discuss the matter with home minster Asaduzzaman Khan.
The change in the passport came the into limelight several days ago. Then, deputy director general for Asia and the Pacific at the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs Gilad Cohen tweeted saying Bangladesh has removed travel ban to Israel.
"Great news! Bangladesh has removed travel ban to Israel. This is a welcome step and I call on the Bangladeshi government to move forward and establish diplomatic ties with Israel so both our peoples could benefit and prosper," he tweeted.
The next day, foreign minister AK Abdul Momen on Sunday said there has been no change in Bangladesh's position towards Israel as it still does not recognise Israel.
Later on the day, a press release of the foreign ministry said, the ban on travel of Bangladeshi passport holders to Israel remains unchanged and Bangladesh’s longstanding position on Israel hasn’t been deviated a bit.
On Monday, information minister Hasan Mahmud told the newspersons at the secretariat the change in passport has been made because of international norms and Israel has got no reason to rejoice. Bangladesh maintains no relationship with Israel and there is no possibility for it in future too, he added.
Whatever has been written in the passport, travel of Bangladeshi passport holders to Israel remain banned as well as traveling to Bangladesh with Israel passport will remain banned too, he added.