December 20, 2023 | Flash Brief

Malaysia Bans Israeli Shipping Services

December 20, 2023 | Flash Brief

Malaysia Bans Israeli Shipping Services

Latest Developments

Malaysia announced on December 19 that it will block Israeli company ZIM Integrated Shipping Services from docking at its ports. Kuala Lumpur is also banning vessels bearing Israeli flags and will not allow ships destined for Israel to anchor in Malaysian waters. Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said that the new policy is “a response to Israel’s actions ignoring the basic principles of humanity and breaking the international law through continued massacres and atrocities against Palestinians.”

Expert Analysis

“Rather than retreating from its overtly pro-Hamas policies, Malaysia appears to be doubling down on its Hamas support. While the government in Kuala Lumpur may be defiant right now, it is now possible that the Israelis take kinetic action against the Hamas operatives on Malaysian soil. It’s also possible to see U.S. sanctions on Hamas or even the government of Malaysia. Finally, the optics of Malaysia joining the ranks of the Houthis may not play well in financial markets. The risk perception of investing in Malaysia is now undeniable. We’ll see if Kuala Lumpur pays a price.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“Malaysia is waving a red flag in front of the Biden administration, inviting maximalist enforcement of sanctions targeting both Hamas financing and illicit Iranian oil transshipment. Congress might also consider an expansion of existing federal anti-boycott laws to impose costs on port operators that boycott Israeli vessels.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Malaysia Continues to Back Hamas

Malaysia has refused to condemn Hamas’s October 7 massacre. Prime Minister Ibrahim told the Malaysian parliament on October 16 that Kuala Lumpur had “a relationship with Hamas from before and this will continue.” On November 9, Ibrahim maintained that Malaysia will not “punish the group as a terrorist organization” even if that that leaves Kuala Lumpur vulnerable to Western sanctions. “I will not accept any threats,” he said.

Hamas Member Admits It Uses Hospital as Command Center,” FDD Flash Brief

Egypt, Jordan, and Other Arab Governments Reject Gazan Refugees,” FDD Flash Brief

10 Things to Know about Hamas,” FDD Insight


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