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Hamas lauds Malaysia for barring Israeli players from squash event

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo by Palestinian media shows head of the resistance movement Hamas Ismail Haniyeh and other senior Hamas leader during a meeting in Gaza.

Hamas has hailed Malaysia’s rejection of any normalization with Israel and its recent refusal to allow Israeli squash players to enter the Southeast Asian country.

In a statement, the resistance movement lauded Malaysia's historic position as it denounced Israeli crimes across the occupied Palestinian lands.

“The criminal Zionist entity, which attacks the Palestinian land and its people, desecrates the holy sites, commits crimes against the Palestinian youths and seeks to destroy the Palestinian sports sector, does not deserve to participate in international events,” the statement read.

Hamas also voiced support for Malaysia's right to host international sports events without having to accept Israeli delegations on its territory. The movement expressed its regret over a decision by a sports governing body to scrap the tournament in Malaysia.

The World Team Championship for men was due to take place in Kuala Lumpur from Dec 7-12, with 26 squads participating. The World Squash Federation (WSF) and Malaysia's squash body said the event had been axed. 

The tournament had been moved to Malaysia from New Zealand earlier this year because of coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

In 2019, Malaysia was stripped of the right to host the World Para Swimming Championships for refusing to allow Israeli athletes. 

And in 2015, Israeli windsurfers had to pull out of a competition on the island of Langkawi after being refused visas.

The Palestinian cause enjoys widespread support in Muslim-majority Malaysia where visits to the country with an Israeli passport is forbidden.

Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed normalization agreements with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani during an official ceremony hosted by ex-US president Donald Trump at the White House on September 15 last year.

In January, Sudan's ruling military junta officially signed the Abraham Accords to normalize ties with Israel.

Morocco's monarchy and Israel agreed on December 10 last year to normalize relations in a deal brokered by the United States.

Palestinians, who seek an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip with East al-Quds as its capital, view the deals as a betrayal of their cause. They have repeatedly condemned the normalization deals with Israel as a stab in the back of the Palestinian nation. 

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