Malaysia has issued a ban on all Israeli-flagged cargo ships seeking to dock in its ports in response to the violence in Gaza. The decision was announced by Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday (December 20).
Malaysia accuses Israel of violating international law by committing acts of massacre and brutality against Palestinian civilians. The ban extends to ships owned by ZIM, Israel's largest shipping company. The decision comes amid concerns that attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea could disrupt global shipping.
The Malaysian Prime Minister stated that ships bound for Israel will be prohibited from loading cargo at any port in the Southeast Asian region. In his statement, he explained that Malaysia, with a majority Muslim population of about 60 percent, has decided to block and prohibit ZIM from docking in the country.
Malaysia has no diplomatic relations with Israel and supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Prime Minister stated that both bans will take effect immediately upon announcement and emphasized that the decision will not affect Malaysia's trade activities.
In addition, Malaysian passports bear the inscription: "Valid for all countries except Israel." Holders of Israeli passports are prohibited from entering Malaysia without prior authorization.
It's worth noting that since 2002, the previous cabinet had granted permission for ships owned by this company to dock in Malaysia. In 2005, this permission was extended by the then cabinet. However, the current government has decided to revoke all previous cabinet decisions.
Malaysia has provided millions of dollars in aid to Gaza, and Anwar has been outspoken in his support for the Palestinian struggle and condemnation of Israel's attacks on Gaza since October 7.
The Malaysian Prime Minister also joined over 16,000 other Malaysians in a rally in October to express Malaysia's support for Palestine.
All educational institutions under the Malaysian Ministry of Education also organized a Palestine Solidarity Week from October 29 to November 3 "to educate students on humanitarian values, including human rights and compassion," the ministry said in October.
At least 19,667 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks since the conflict began in October. The death toll from Hamas attacks on Israel, which sparked the current conflict, has reached nearly 1,140.