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Malaysia says it won't host sporting events which include Israeli athletes

Malaysia has no official diplomatic ties with Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 January, 2019

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Malaysia has confirmed its ban on Israeli athletes attending the World Para Swimming Championships in July and has announced a blanket ban on Israelis participating in future sports events.
Malaysia has introduced a blanket ban on the participation of Israelis in all events hosted by the Southeast Asian nartion, Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said on Wednesday.

The ban comes as Malaysia confirmed its stance on barring Israeli athletes from participating in the World Para Swimming Championships in July.

"Even if we have already committed to hosting an event, they will not be allowed (into the country)," Saifuddin was quoted by Reuters as saying.

"Secondly, Malaysia will not host any event that has representation from or participation of Israel."

The eastern Malaysian state of Sarawak is due to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships, which will see athletes from some 70 countries compete.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on Monday said it was "disappointed" with Malaysia's decision to bar Israeli swimmers from the event.

Malaysia's foreign minister said his government will continue to take a strong position on the Israel-Palestinian issue.

"We are looking at the Palestinian issue not simply from the religious point of view... it is a humanitarian, human rights issue," he said.

"It is about fighting on behalf of the oppressed," he added.

A Muslim-Majority country, Malaysia has no official diplomatic ties with Israel and has been a vocal critic of Israeli actions regarding Palestinians.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad last month blasted Australia's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying that it had "no right" to do so.

Last year saw a number of anti-Israel demonstrations take place on the streets of Malaysia's capital, including against US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and after a suspected Mossad hit on a Palestinian engineer who had been living in Kuala Lumpur.

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