Malaysia Rejects Israeli Athletes Visas
The World Squash Federation says Malaysia refused to grant Israeli athletes visas to participate in the Squash World Team Championship for men in Kuala Lumpur next month.
Malaysian authorities refused to grant visas for Israeli players to participate in a major squash tournament next month, the sport's governing body said.
According to Israeli media, Gerard Monteiro, the head of the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia stated his country “would not be able to guarantee safety and well-being” of the Israeli athletes, and therefore will not issue visas for them.
The Squash World Team Championship for men is due to take place in Kuala Lumpur from December 7-12, with 26 squads participating.
Earlier this year, the tournament was moved to Malaysia from New Zealand due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
For its part, the World Squash Federation told AFP it had "been made aware that, at present, the Malaysian authorities have not accepted yet to provide visas for the Israel squash team."
Malaysia's stance sparked anger within the Israeli occupation, and the Israeli Squash Association said it plans to turn to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland if the WSF can't resolve the issue.
Malaysia supports Palestine
The Southeast Asian nation does not have diplomatic relations with the Israeli occupation.
In 2019, it was stripped of the right to host the World Para Swimming Championships for threatening to refuse Israeli athletes.
Similarly, it refused in 2015 to issue visas for Israeli windsurfers to participate in a championship on Langkawi Island.
Entry into the country on an Israeli passport is forbidden, as the Palestinian cause enjoys widespread support in Malaysia.
Malaysia's Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah last month confirmed that his country will not join "the train of normalization with the Zionist entity."
In response, a spokesman of Hamas Movement, Abdul Latif Al-Qanoua, expressed the Islamic movement's appreciation for Malaysia's decision.
"Malaysia's refusal reflects the genuine stance against all forms of normalizing ties with the Israeli occupation and supports the Palestinian people and strengthens their steadfastness in the face of the occupation," Al-Qanoua affirmed.
He also called on all countries to boycott and oppose normalization with the Israeli occupation.