Hamas hails Lebanese table tennis player for denying to compete with Israeli opponent
Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has praised junior Lebanese chess player Bissan Chiri for withdrawing from the World Table Tennis (WTT) Youth Star Contender Vila Nova de Gaia 2022 tournament held in Portugal to avoid facing an Israeli counterpart.
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Hamas spokesperson Jihad Taha Saturday praised Chiri's decision as an "honorable Arab position that reflects the Lebanese people's genuine sense of belonging" for the Palestinian cause.
In a press statement, Taha emphasized that such a move confirms that Arab and Muslim generations refuse all forms of normalization with the Israeli occupation.
In the same breath a junior Lebanese chess player, Nadia Fawaz, has withdrawn from an international festival in the United Arab Emirates to avoid playing against an Israeli opponent.
Nadia Fawaz refused to face Israeli Elijah Grosman in the fourth round of the 28th Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival after winning her matches against Brunei's Wafa Yacoub, Saudi Arabia's Ziad Saleh Abdali and the UAE's Wafia Darwish Al-Maamari.
According to the head of the Lebanese Chess Federation, Khaled Bdeih, Fawaz made the decision as an act of solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people.
Israel is often accused of using its presence in international sports and cultural events as a means of “Sportswashing” " its human rights violations. Aside from being accused by international human rights groups Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem of imposing a system of apartheid on the Palestinians, Israel is known to treat international law with contempt. Apartheid is akin to a crime against humanity.