Islanders on Filadhoo in Haa Alifu Atoll have reacted with outrage to news of an Israeli agricultural delegation scheduled to arrive on the island next Saturday, warning that the visitors from Teshuva Agricultural Products “will go no further than the island jetty.”
On its website the company claims its advanced agricultural methods “allow for fresh culinary herbs to be grown in soil-less hydroponic systems.”
Filadhoo islander Mohamed Hamidh told Minivan News that the majority of the island’s 550-strong population were against the visit by the Israeli company.
Hamidh said that when the islanders first received information about the delegation, they prepared a petition signed by 100 islanders and submitted it to the island council.
“That night the Island Council called the islanders for a meeting and 83 islanders attended the meeting. Councilors called for a vote and 82 out of the present 83 citizens voted that they do not want to let the Israeli delegation step on the island,” Hamidh said.
Local media reported that the petition signed by the 100 citizens claimed the Israeli delegation intended to preach Christianity on the island and conduct un-Islamic activities, although they came under the banner of an agricultural delegation.
An earlier press release by the Deputy Leader of the Adhaalath Party accused the agricultural delegation of being agents from Mossad, the Israeli secret service.
Hamidh meanwhile said the islanders would not welcome the delegation because Israelis “have been mistreating the Muslims in Palestine” and have “killed so many Palestinian men and left many Palestinian women widowed.”
“We have reports that although the islanders oppose their presence, they will still head towards our island. They are supposed to be arriving on Saturday morning around 8:30am, so we will keep an eye on the jetty and will not let them enter this island,” he said.
Island Council Member Mohamed Vijan told Minivan News that the council was “left with no other choice” but to support the will of the citizens.
“Last Monday the Atoll Council informed the Island Council that this delegation from Israel will visit Filadhoo on Saturday,” he said.
He said the council will be “with the citizens” whether they were in favour or opposed to the visiting delegation.
Earlier this month Deputy Leader of the Adhaalath Party Dr Mauroof Hussein called for alarm after alleging that a delegation from Teshuva Agricultural Products was due to arrive in the Maldives to assess the country’s agricultural potential.
The last time an Israeli delegation visited the Maldives – a team of volunteer eye surgeons – protests erupted across Male’ that saw the burning of Israeli flags and calls to “ban all Israeli medical teams” from practicing in the Maldives.