Travelling to Israel with Bangladeshi passports is still banned, said Foreign Ministry today.
As Bangladesh is issuing new e-passports removing words "except Israel" from the line - "This passport is valid for all countries of the world except Israel", several international media outlets published reports saying "Bangladesh lifted ban on travel to Israel".
Even Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel also tweeted welcoming "removal of the ban".
But Foreign Ministry, in a press release today, said, "The ban on travel of Bangladeshi passport holders to Israel remains unchanged. The Government of Bangladesh has not deviated from its position on Israel and Bangladesh remains firm on its longstanding position in this regard."
"The confusion appears to have emanated from the new booklets of E-passports which does not contain the observation "all countries excepting Israel. The removal of the observation has been done to maintain international standard of Bangladeshi e-passports and does not imply any change of Bangladesh's foreign policy towards the Middle East," the press release adds.
The ministry also said, "The Government of Bangladesh has condemned the recent atrocities inflicted upon the civilians by the occupation forces of Israel in al-Aqsa mosque compound and at Gaza. Bangladesh reiterates its principled position concerning the two-State Solution of the Palestine-Israel conflict in light of the UN resolutions recognizing pre-1967 borders and East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine."
Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal denied any diplomatic relations with Israel as Bangladesh has not recognised the country yet.
AK Abdul Momen told media, "There has been no change in Bangladesh's position towards Israel as it still does not recognise Israel. Removing the words 'except Israel' in the new passport does not mean that there has been a change in Bangladesh's position."
"No passport in the world contains such words which are why the changes have been made," he said adding, "Passport is a national identity and it does not reflect foreign policy."
Upon being asked about the issue, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told bdnews that the rumour found ground after some changes were made to e-passports in order to ensure its "international standards".