Malaysia bans Israeli-flagged ships in response to Gaza war

Malaysia bans Israeli-flagged ships in response to Gaza war

Kuala Lumpur (AFP): Malaysia banned on Wednesday Israeli-flagged cargo ships from docking at its ports in response to Israel’s actions in Gaza, which it said ignores “basic humanitarian principles”.

Ships on their way to Israel will also be barred from loading cargo at any port in the largely Muslim Southeast Asian nation with immediate effect, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said in a statement.

Anwar singled out Israel’s biggest shipping firm ZIM.

Malaysia’s cabinet authorised ZIM to dock its vessels at Malaysian ports in 2002 but Wednesday’s statement said that authorisation had been rescinded.

“The Malaysian government decided to block and disallow the Israeli-based shipping company ZIM from docking at any Malaysian port,” Anwar said.

“These sanctions are a response to Israel’s actions that ignore basic humanitarian principles and violate international law through the ongoing massacre and brutality against Palestinians.”

Malaysia “also decided to no longer accept ships using the Israeli flag to dock in the country” and ban “any ship on its way to Israel from loading cargo in Malaysian ports”.

Anwar said Malaysia was confident its trade would not be affected by the decision.

Malaysia does not have diplomatic ties with Israel.

The war began when Hamas militants burst out of Gaza on October 7, killing around 1,140 people in Israel, mostly civilians, and abducting about 250, according to the latest Israeli figures.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel began a campaign of bombardment, alongside a ground invasion, that Hamas-run Gaza’s health ministry says has killed 19,667 people, mostly women and children.

International pressure is mounting for a new truce that could ramp up aid to the besieged Palestinian territory, with the United Nations due to vote Wednesday on calling for a ceasefire.