Due to the recent ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, Bangladesh as a radical Muslim country it showed its support to Hamas and Palestine.
There were lots of protest on the streets of Bangladesh in support of Palestine and it was very difficult for the government and police to control the mob.
These protests were also covered by the international media which also took the attention of the USA.
For a couple of years, Bangladesh is suffering from a shortage of Fighter aircraft. All of their fighter aircraft were from Russian MiG 29 and Chinese origin J 7 which are much older and not quite reliable.
To attract the Bangladesh air force India showcased its Tejas fighter jet in the Bangladesh Air show and it was quite confirmed that Bangladesh will order a certain number of Tejas fighter jets.
But now the USA has played a very big game and they have thrown out Tejas and they have agreed to offer F-16 to Bangladesh Air force.
Looking at the aggression of Bangladesh is people towards Israel which is America’s greatest ally, the USA has asked the Bangladeshi government to maintain a peaceful relationship with Israel and remove the travel ban to Israel. Further Bangladesh has to also remove the ‘Except Israel’ option from their passport.
At first various specialist around the world predicted that Bangladesh will never do what the US has asked because it is a radical Muslim country but the Bangladeshi government has surprised the world with their current decision.
As of now, Bangladesh has fulfilled the demand of the USA so they soon are getting F-16 into their squadron.
Bangladesh on Saturday announced dropping of words “except Israel” in the new passport which was hailed by Israel as a “lift of decades-old travel ban”. But, Dhaka was quick to clarify that the decision to remove those words does not amount to change in Bangladesh’s position towards Israel, as it still does not recognise Israel.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told reporters in Dhaka on Sunday, “We have taken decision to drop “except Israel” from passport six months ago when we introduced e-passport. It is for standardisation of our passport. But our foreign policy will remain the same towards Israel. We are not going to establish our ties with Israel. We support the struggle of the people of Palestine. We also support two-state solutions. So, our foreign policy will remain unchanged.”
Bangladeshi passports earlier had a clause written on them that said: “This Passport is valid for all countries of the world except Israel”, but the government on Saturday decided to remove “except Israel” from the document making it valid for the entire world.
Earlier, 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.
Bangladesh clarifies position on Israel
Bangladesh foreign ministry, however, on Sunday clarified in a tweet that “irrespective of new e-passports, Bangladesh did not change position on Israel including travel ban.”
“Bangladesh condemned atrocities to Palestinians, and reiterates its principled position concerning the two-state solution of #Palestine-#Israel conflict in light of UN resolutions,” the tweet further read.
In a press release, the Bangladesh foreign ministry said: “The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently been drawn to a twitter issued from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel welcoming removal of ban on travel to Israel on E-passports being issued by Bangladesh. The confusion appears to have emanated from the new booklets of E-passports which does not contain the observation “all countries excepting Israel [sic]”.
The statement added: “The removal of the observation has been done to maintain international standard of Bangladeshi e-passports and does not imply any change of Bangladesh’s foreign policy towards the Middle East. The ban on travel of Bangladeshi passport holders to Israel remains unchanged. The Government of Bangladesh has not deviated from its position on Israel and Bangladesh remains firm on its longstanding position in this regard [sic]”.
Senior journalist Masud Karim said, “I think it is [a] purely technical matter. There is no political will of Bangladesh to establish ties with Israel at this moment. No country use[s] ‘except Israel’ in their passport. It is not [a] foreign policy matter, but an administrative decision by [the] home ministry of Bangladesh. If it is a foreign policy matter, [the] home [ministry] must discuss the matter with [the] foreign office. But there was no discussion at all between [the] two ministries. Actually, passport is an identity. So, identity must be a standard one.”
This comes just as a truce has been in place since Thursday between Israel and Palestine after an 11-day deadly battle that claimed a lot of Palestinian lives in the Gaza Strip.
The statement also added: “The Government of Bangladesh has condemned the recent atrocities inflicted upon the civilians by the occupation forces of Israel in al-Aqsa mosque compound and at Gaza. Bangladesh reiterates its principled position concerning the two-State Solution of the Palestine-Israel conflict in light of the UN resolutions recognizing pre-1967 borders and East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine [sic].”