Ahmed Naseem first Maldivian Foreign Minister to visit Israel

The Maldives’ Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem is currently visiting Israel, the first foreign minister from the country to do so.

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that during his visit from May 16-20 Naseem would meet Israeli President Shimon Peres and have dinner with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman, lay a wreath at Yad Vashem and visit other sites throughout the country.

Naseem also yesterday met with officials of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, including President Mahmoud Abbas, and discussed issues relating to the peace process and the Palestinian reconciliation agreement.

Palestine’s News and Information Agency reported Abbas as saying that the peace process had stalled due to Israel’s refusal to stop settlement activities and terms of references for the peace process. Naseem reportedly expressed support for the declaration of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry meanwhile noted that “Israel and the Republic of Maldives have enjoyed diplomatic relations since 1965, [which] were suspended in 1974. Israel was the third state to recognise the Muslim island nation and its ambassador was the first to present his credentials to the president of the Maldives,”

“Relations began to improve at the beginning of the 1990’s. The present government maintains relations of appreciation and friendship with Israel; the two states have signed three agreements in the fields of health, tourism and education.”

Visiting eye surgeons from the Israeli ‘Eyes from Zion’ NGO were recently met by large protests, the burning of Israeli flags in Republic Square and claims from several local religious NGOs that the doctors were seeking to “illegally harvesting organs from non-Jews around the world.”


Salaf calls on government to offer military training to citizens “before Jews take over the country”

Religious NGO Jamiyyathusalaf has called on the government to “provide military training to all Muslim Maldivians and familiarise citizens with the use of modern weaponry” before “Jews take over the country”, days before a controversial visit by a team of Isreali surgeons to offer free-of-charge eye camps in Male’, Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo and Addu Atoll Hithadhoo.

A statement on Salaf’s website claims that “Maldivians would not accept under any circumstances extremist Jewish organisations from Israel, which ignores UN resolutions in brutalising Muslims, exerting influence in the Maldives.”

Following the announcement of the eye camp last month, the Islamic Foundation of the Maldives called on the government to “shun all medical aid from the Zionist regime” and not to normalise relations with Israel.

The Foundation claimed that Maldivians should be wary of the eye surgeons as Isreali medical teams “have become notorious for illegally harvesting organs from non-Jews around the world.”

Political Counsellor at the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, Itay Tagner, dismissed the claims as “outrageous and ridiculous” with “not one gram of truth to it.”

The religious conservation Adaalath party, coalition partner of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) which controls the Islamic Ministry, meanwhile issued a press release yesterday claiming that it has learned “from reliable sources” that the camp is funded by the American-Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).

“Doctors who are coming for this eye camp are from a Zionist organisation called ‘Eyes from Zion’,” reads the Adhaalath statement. “Don’t think that these are doctors from a normal hospital! We have learned that a group from the Israeli Foreign Ministry will be coming with them.”

It adds that while the party has welcomed medical teams from countries such as Germany, America and India in the past, the Israeli delegation was a different matter.

“Allegations that the Maldivian government has secret ties with the Israeli government is something Maldivian citizens should be concerned about today,” it continues. “What is the truth about claims that some senior government officials made secret trips to Israel via Jordan?”

Adhaalath further claims that the Isreali government gifted a floating ambulance to the Maldives in June this year but was not made public by the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH).

The statement adds that “Zionists wishing to freely assist a 100 percent Muslim country defies logic” since it is “as clear as the afternoon sun that Jews would not wish well for Muslims”, cautioning that help from Israel would only come with “a hidden agenda”.

“Today it’s a team of doctors. Tomorrow it will be Israeli flights. Then will follow Israeli teachers, technicians and advisors,” it reads, adding that Adhaalath has voiced concern with the government’s efforts “to dim the role of Islamic studies” ever since it began pursuing relations with the Jewish state.

The party claims that the government’s plans to make Islam an optional subject in higher secondary education and allegedly remove reservations it holds to international conventions “could no longer be seen as coincidences.”

The party cautions citizens to be wary of Jews infiltrating the Maldives and “be watchful of agents that facilitate their plans”.

However, Islamic Minister Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari told Minivan News today that the ministry has neither raised concerns with the government nor urged the authorities not to go ahead with the camp.

Bari insisted that the Adhaalath press release did not reflect the views of the Islamic Ministry.

Some 739 people in Male’ and 879 in Addu and Fuvahmulah have registered for treatment at the eye camp on December 9.