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Malaysia Bans all Israelis, including Paralympians, from Attending Malaysian Events


Malaysia's foreign minister said Wednesday the country will not invite Israelis to participate in any future international events.

"Malaysia will not host any more events involving Israel or its representatives. This is to me, a decision to reflect the government's firm stance over the Israeli issue," Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdulla Saifuddin said after meeting a coalition of Muslim groups.

Malaysia, a predominately Muslim country, is a vocal defender of the Palestinian cause. The country's bold declaration against Israel comes a week after Malaysia refused to allow Israel's Paralympics swimming team to compete in the upcoming World Para Swimming Championships in July.

The event will be held in the city of Kuching and will be the determining factor for who will participate in the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. More than 600 swimmers from 70 nations will compete.

Despite two months of efforts, Israel's team still does not have permission to enter Malaysia.

"For some time now, we have been trying to guarantee our participation in the world championships," Israeli Olympic chairman Nisim Sasportas told Ynet.

"In principle, everyone says that it will work out, but we have still not received an invitation or visas. We are continuing to apply pressure. We have letters of support from the International Paralympics Committee, the European Paralympics Committee and the Olympic Athletes Committee, and hope that they allow the athletes and their security entourage to participate."

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohammad has been highly critical of Israel, saying "Jerusalem has always been Palestinian territory and it must remain in its current status."

Mohammad also called Jews "hook-nosed" last October and blamed the Jewish state for being the source of chaos in the Middle East.

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