Bangladesh–Israel relations

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Bangladesh–Israel relations
Map indicating locations of Israel and Bangladesh



Bangladesh and Israel do not maintain diplomatic relations. Bangladesh said that it will not recognize Israel until there is an independent Palestine.[1] Some reports and statistics revealed that Bangladesh and Israel maintain some trade relations indirectly and sometime secretly. Although the government always denies these allegations.


The Bangladeshi passport is valid for all countries of the world except Israel

Bangladesh is one of 28 UN member states that does not recognize the state of Israel. It is one of several countries that officially bans its citizens from traveling to Israel and does not accept Israeli passports.[2][3][4] In November 2003, Bangladeshi journalist Salah Choudhury was arrested for attempting to fly to Tel Aviv, arraigned for "sedition, treason, and blasphemy", and sentenced to a seven-year prison term.[5][6] Bangladesh officially supports a sovereign Palestinian state and "an end to Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine".[3]

In a September 2011 statement published in The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli government spokesperson said, "We have no conflict with Bangladesh. We want dialogue. We want people-to-people relations. We welcome the religious-minded people of Bangladesh to visit the holy land of Jerusalem".[7] Israel fruitlessly "sought a relationship with Bangladesh" after they had established "full diplomatic relations with China and India in 1992".[8] Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina said in 2014, "We have been continuing our support to the Palestinians and occupation of their land by the Israelis is never acceptable".[9] Dr Shadman Zaman became the first Bangladeshi national in history to visit Israel in 2017 using his Bangladeshi passport. Since then, he is said to be residing in England after receiving multiple death threats and potentially facing the prospect of a trial for treason.[10][11]


Bangladesh maintains a ban on trade with Israel even though both countries are members of the World Trade Organization.[8][12] In 2014, it was found from the official statistics of the Bangladesh Export Promotion Bureau that Bangladesh had exported a small amount of merchandise goods worth about US$2,577 to Israel in 2013–14 fiscal year.[13] In recent years however, it is found that Bangladeshi products are exported to Israel through USA or European Union or other third countries.[14]

Spyware purchase[edit]

In February 2021, an Al-Jazeera investigation report titled "All the Prime Minister's Men" alleged that Bangladeshi military intelligence secretly bought Israeli-made mobile phone surveillance and manipulation equipment that can be used to simultaneously monitor hundreds of people. The report also claimed that some Bangladeshi military officers were trained by Israeli tech experts at a warehouse in Hungary.[15] Bangladesh Army denied these allegations in an official statement.[16]

Bangladesh Liberation War[edit]

Israel was one of the first nations to recognize the independent Bangladesh in February 1972.[17] Both the Israeli Government and the Israeli general public supported the aspirations of the Bengali people during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. After the independence of Bangladesh, the newly formed country was quickly recognized by Israel on 4 February 1972. However the Government of Bangladesh officially rejected the Israeli recognition.[7][18] On behalf of the Bangladeshi Government, the then Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, Khondaker Mostaq Ahmad, issued a letter saying this recognition was not acceptable.[7]

2006 Lebanon War[edit]

In the immediate aftermath of the 2006 Lebanon War, Bangladesh offered to send battalions of its infantrymen to help with the UN peacekeeping force, but Israel rejected it stating that Bangladesh does not recognize Israel.[19] Although Israel rejected the country's participation, Bangladesh was one of first countries whose troops reached the shores of south Lebanon. Whereas western nations, such as the original leader and top contributor to Lebanon, France, delayed their deployment. As of May 2015, Bangladesh has 326 peacekeepers participating in UNIFIL in Lebanon.[20]

Allegation of Mossad connection[edit]

In May 2016, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina alleged that opposition parties BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh have joined together with Israeli national intelligence agency Mossad to overthrow her government through a coup after it had been reported that Aslam Chowdhury, the joint secretary general of BNP met the Israeli politician Mendi N. Safadi during a visit to India.[21] Aslam claimed that the meeting was accidental.[22]

On 7 June 2016, Bangladeshi Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan alleged that the main opposition party BNP has link to the recent fundamentalists attacks in Bangladesh and these attacks are part of a wider conspiracy that also involved Mossad, the national intelligence agency of Israel.[23] A Foreign Ministry spokesman referred to the allegations as "utter drivel."[23]


  1. ^ "B'desh should not establish ties with Israel: Experts". 29 August 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Moving Israel from Europe to Asia". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Statement by Her Excellency Ms. Dipu Moni, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dhaka. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Grant: I'll have no issue with my Israeli passport". Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  5. ^ "The unfathomable life of Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  6. ^ Winer, Stuart (9 January 2014). "Bangladesh editor gets 7 years for attempted Israel trip". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Nasir, Khaled (2 September 2011). "Time for a quiet revolution in Bangladesh-Israeli relations". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  8. ^ a b Ohad Shpak. "Elections in Bangladesh – Why do we care?". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  9. ^ "PM: Attack on Gaza is violation of humanity". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  10. ^ Zieve, Tamara (26 November 2017). "Bangladeshi, exiled for visiting Israel, returns to Jewish State". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 27 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Israel's Bangladeshi 'ambassador' converting to Judaism". Ynet.
  12. ^ "Bangladesh Trade Boycott On Israel Impacts U.S. Firm And Garment Sector". WikiLeaks. 7 January 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  13. ^ "No diplomatic ties but B'desh earns from export in Israel". New Age. 20 May 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  14. ^ "Bangladesh exports unknown goods to Israel". Prothom Alo. 11 August 2014. Archived from the original on 11 July 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  15. ^ Unit, Al Jazeera Investigative (2 February 2021). "Bangladesh bought spyware from Israeli surveillance company". Al-Jazeera. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  16. ^ "Bangladesh Army denies procuring Mobile Interceptor Device from Israel". Dhaka Tribune. 2 February 2021. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  17. ^ "Israel Recognizes Bangladesh". The Jerusalem Post. 7 February 1972. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  18. ^ Verinder Grover (1 January 2000). Bangladesh: Government and Politics. Deep & Deep Publications. p. 674. ISBN 978-81-7100-928-2.
  19. ^ "Israeli troops shoot Hezbollah militants". CNN. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  20. ^ "UNIFIL Troop-Contributing Countries". Information and Communications Technology Division. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  21. ^ "Hasina accuses rivals of trying to topple govt". The Hindu. 19 May 2016. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  22. ^ "I met Israeli accidentally". The Daily Star. 11 May 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  23. ^ a b "Bangladeshi minister blames Israel for string of gruesome murders". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 16 June 2016.