The Malaysian authorities have refused to grant visas for Israeli players to participate in the World Squash Championships, which is scheduled to start on December 7, local media reported on Tuesday.
The revelation was made by the World Squash Federation (WSF), pointing out that it had “been made aware that, at present, the Malaysian authorities have not accepted to provide visas for the Israel squash team”.
The WSF added it is in contact with Malaysia’s squash body and hoped that “a fair and practical solution can be achieved”.
The tournament was scheduled to be held in New Zealand, but it was moved to Malaysia due to the tightening of restrictions imposed in New Zealand, to curb the spread of the COVID-19.
It is to be noted that Malaysia doesn’t have any formal diplomatic relations with Israel and people from the Jewish country are not able to visit the Southeast Asian country.
The Israel Squash Association said it plans to turn to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland if the World Social Forum cannot solve the problem.
“It’s a shame that they are mixing sports with politics,” association chairman Aviv Bushinsky said.
Malaysia has an important role to play in supporting the Palestinian cause. It always calls for ending the Israeli occupation and giving all their rights to the Palestinian people. It also rejects normalization with the Israeli occupation.
Praise from Hamas
In turn, Hamas praised the Malaysian refusal, and Abd al-Latif al-Qanu`, a spokesman for the movement, said in a statement that this refusal expresses Malaysia’s permanent and original position in opposing normalization with the occupation, supporting the Palestinian people and strengthening their steadfastness.
Activists on social media praised Malaysia’s behaviour, denouncing at the same time the Arab countries’ normalization with the Israeli occupation.