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Libyan fencing team avoids facing Israel in UAE’s World Championships

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)
Members of Libya’s fencing team are seen in the venue of World Fencing Championships 2022 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Libya Observer)

The Libyan national team has refused to face Israeli opponents at the World Fencing Championships 2022 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in solidarity with the Palestinian cause and in opposition to normalization agreements between the occupying regime and a few Arab countries.

Libya’s fencing team withdrew on Sunday from the final competition with the Tel Aviv regime despite putting on a remarkable performance in Fencing World Championships currently taking place in Dubai.

“The national team was to face Israel according to the official draw. However, the athletes and staff decided to pull out of the games rather than face the Israeli opponent,” Libya Observer wrote on its website.

Libya's fencing team is ranked second in Africa and 19 globally in the classification of the game.

The withdrawal comes as a number of Arab athletes have so far avoided facing Israelis in the international competition in support of the Palestinian cause despite their government's decision to normalize relations with the occupying regime.

Eyas al-Zamer, a Jordanian fencer, was set to take part in the junior men’s foil contests of the international professional championship for young competitors in the UAE but decided to withdraw.

Earlier in the championships, Kuwaiti fencer Mohamed al-Fadli pulled out of the annual event in order to avoid competing against an Israeli opponent.

Many athletes have over the years boycotted games in order not to face Israelis because of the regime's crimes against Palestinians and its occupation of Palestinian territories.

The Israeli regime has been pushing ahead with more illegal settlements following the US-brokered normalization deals between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain in September 2020.

The UAE and Bahrain were only the third and fourth Arab states to normalize relations with Israel, following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

The normalization deals have sparked widespread protests in these countries, pointing to the overwhelming divide between the rulers and the people.

The deals have also been condemned by all Palestinian political factions, which have termed them as a betrayal of their cause.

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