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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Malaysia prohibited all Israeli-flagged cargo ships from accessing its ports

Malaysia has officially prohibited all Israeli-flagged cargo ships from accessing its ports, a decision declared by the Prime Minister.

Malaysia has officially prohibited all Israeli-flagged cargo ships from accessing its ports, a decision declared by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. The action is a direct response to the ongoing conflict in Gaza, with Malaysia accusing Israel of violating international law and committing atrocities against Palestinians.

Malaysia’s Diplomatic Position

With a majority Muslim population of approximately 60 percent, Malaysia has long maintained a diplomatic stance of non-recognition and the absence of diplomatic relations with Israel. The country actively supports the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. The recent ban on Israeli-flagged ships aligns with Malaysia’s broader commitment to the Palestinian cause, evident in its substantial financial aid contributions to Gaza.

Read More: Malaysia’s Prime Minister affirms support for Hamas amid growing global tensions

Maritime Ban Targets ZIM

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim specified that the maritime ban is specifically aimed at ZIM, Israel’s largest shipping company. This comprehensive ban not only prevents Israeli-flagged ships from docking in Malaysian ports but also bars any ship bound for Israel from loading cargo at Malaysian ports. This dual restriction is designed to communicate Malaysia’s strong objection to what it perceives as Israel’s disregard for humanitarian principles and violations of international law.

Immediate Implementation

The ban takes immediate effect, underscoring Malaysia’s sense of urgency and unwavering commitment to its position. Anwar Ibrahim justifies the decision as a direct response to Israel’s ongoing “massacre and brutality” against Palestinians. This bold move reflects Malaysia’s refusal to engage with entities associated with actions deemed inhumane and contrary to international norms. Questions arise about the potential impact on global shipping routes and broader diplomatic repercussions.

Support for Gaza

Malaysia’s ban aligns with a period of disruptions in the Red Sea passage, a crucial East-West trade route, due to attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. Beyond taking a stand against Israel, Malaysia has actively supported Gaza by donating millions of dollars in aid. This dual commitment reflects both political and humanitarian dimensions of Malaysia’s stance, further emphasized by its longstanding relationship with Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza.

Global Shipping Challenges

The ban coincides with significant disruptions to shipping routes, particularly in the Red Sea passage, raising concerns about vessel safety in the primary East-West trade route. The Red Sea, linked to the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal (accounting for around 12 percent of world shipping traffic), has prompted a reassessment of shipping routes. Vessels have either turned off tracking systems or anchored as companies explore alternative paths.

Read More: Malaysia picks Sultan Ibrahim to be next king

As the ban takes effect, the international community is likely to closely monitor Malaysia’s decision and its potential repercussions. The move may spark debates on the intersection of trade, politics, and humanitarian concerns. The United States’ announcement of a multinational force to protect trade in the Red Sea highlights the gravity of the situation, emphasizing the need for a coordinated response to safeguard global shipping routes.