There are two perspectives that we need to explore. The first one is Israel-Bangladesh diplomatic relationship and the other one is traveling conditions for Bangladeshi passport holders. In relation to the first perspective, Bangladesh doesn't have a diplomatic relationship with Israel. This has been Bangladesh's position since our independence in 1971.
For this reason, Bangladesh doesn't have an Israeli Embassy or Embassy related offices. And it is the same for Israel - they don't have a Bangladeshi Embassy or Embassy related offices in their territory. When there is an absence of diplomatic relationship, this means there is no trade, bilateral relations, bilateral treaties etc.
In accordance with section 3 of Bangladesh Passport Act 1920, the government has the authority to make any rule as they deem necessary. Through this rule, it was written in our passport that Bangladeshi citizens can travel in any country of the world except for Israel. Previously it was South Africa, Taiwan, and Israel, but later South Africa and Taiwan were removed. And recently it was Israel that was removed.
Now the question is, would you call it a law? Yes, it is a part of law (as it is a rule). The consequence of this rule is not quite clear as of yet. Some are saying that Bangladeshis will be able to travel to Israel but others are saying that since there is no diplomatic relationship between Bangladesh and Israel, travel will not be possible.
The government is saying that this has been done for the purpose of maintaining international standards only, so they won't be able to travel.
So according to the latter school of thought, although the phrase isn't there, the travel ban still exists. In light of the present situation, my conclusion would be that when a Bangladeshi citizen travels from Bangladesh to Israel, that'd be illegal from our end, but if someone travels to Israel from another country, then, Israel will likely not see a reason to stop him as the passport now doesn't stop him from traveling there.
The author, formerly a human rights, justice and governance expert within the UN System, is currently a faculty member at the Department of Law, School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Independent University, Bangladesh. He can be reached at: [email protected]