Malaysia: We won't host any more events involving Israel

Malaysia's foreign minister reiterates that Israeli swimmers will not be permitted into the country for Paralympics qualifier.

Elad Benari ,

Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
iStock

Malaysia's foreign minister said on Wednesday the Muslim-majority country will not host any more events involving Israel, AFP reported.

The minister, Saifuddin Abdullah, reiterated that swimmers from the Jewish state were barred from an upcoming competition that will serve as a qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said last week Israeli swimmers would not be allowed in for the tournament, which will take place in the city of Kuching in the eastern Sarawak state from July 29 to August 4.

The International Paralympic Committee expressed disappointment over Malaysia’s stance, though it said it would aim to “find a solution” to the issue.

On Wednesday, however, Abdullah doubled down on Malaysia's opposition to the Jewish state.

The cabinet has decided that "Malaysia will not host any event which has Israel participation or representation," he said, according to AFP.

"This is a decision by the government to demonstrate our tough stance over the issue of Israel. It is about fighting on behalf of the oppressed," he added.

Malaysia is one of a number of Muslim-majority countries that has no formal diplomatic ties with Israel, with entry to the country on an Israeli passport prohibited.

This is not the first time that there have been issues with Malaysia over Israeli athletes taking part in competitions on its territory.

In 2016, the Israel Sailing Association withdrew athletes from a competition in Malaysia after they were denied entry visas to the country.

Later, Israel pulled its team from the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Kuala Lumpur following a row with the Malaysian government over entry visas.

In 2017, Malaysia decided not to host the 67th FIFA Conference because an Israeli delegation was scheduled to participate.

Many in Malaysia support the Palestinian Authority, with thousands taking to the streets to protest in December of 2017 when US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital.

In response to Trump’s decision, Malaysia said it would open an embassy in eastern Jerusalem to recognize the city as the capital of “Palestine”.



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