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Malaysia Bans Israeli Ships in Protest over ‘Atrocities’ Against Palestinians

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced yesterday that “the Malaysian government has decided to bar and restrict Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd, a shipping company based in Israel, from docking at any port,” effective immediately. Zim is one of the top 20 shipping companies in the world. Likewise, no Israeli-flagged ships will be allowed to dock or land in Malaysia, nor will any ship which arrives in Malaysia en route to Israel be allowed to upload cargo, also effective immediately.

The measures were taken to defend the Palestinian people, Ibrahim stated. “These restrictions are a response to Israel’s actions that ignore basic humanitarian principles and violate international law through continuous massacres and atrocities against the Palestinians.”

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad supported the government’s move, saying that this was to protest Israel’s continued violence against Palestinians, Malaysia’s The Star added in its report of this news. Zim ships had been permitted to dock in Malaysian ports since 2002, and to load cargo since 2005. But that was allowed, Dr. Mahathir said, because there were ongoing peace talks between Palestine and Israel. But “unfortunately, all those efforts were clearly in vain, because Israel continued to show its brute nature and continued to kill the Palestinian people,” he said.

Malaysia’s Transport Ministry said that it was working with shippers and logistics companies that would be affected by the ban, according to the Maritime Executive website, which reports: “Zim currently has two international ocean routes that include port calls in Port Klang as well as various other routes operated in collaboration with shipping partners.” The first port call to be affected by this ban is the 10,000 TEU Zim Rotterdam, scheduled to arrive on Dec. 24, coming from China, the site reported.