Dubai (The Inside Palestine)- 14-year-old Kuwaiti tennis player, Muhammad Al-Awadi, has pulled out on Friday from an international tennis tournament held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to avoid facing an Israeli opponent.
Al-Awadi had qualified for the semi-finals of the international championship for professionals under the age of 14, held in Dubai.
However, he pulled out of the tournament when he learned that he had to face an Israeli counterpart, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Watan reported.
“Greetings and thanks to the Kuwaiti hero Muhammad al-Awadi for his refusal to normalize sports competition with the Zionists,” Osama al-Shaheen, a member of Kuwait’s parliament, said in a tweet on Friday.
— أسامة الشاهين (@OALSHAHEEN) January 21, 2022
Yusuf al-Sanad, a member of the Persian Gulf Scholars Union, also tweeted that the Kuwaiti competitor announced his withdrawal from the competition in solidarity with the people of Palestine and in rejection of Israeli apartheid.
البطل الكويتي والخليجي محمد العوضي ينسحب من اللعب مع ممثل الكيان الصهيوني العنصري في بطولة التنس المقامة في دبي معلنا بموقفه تضامنه مع أهل فلسطين الذين مازال الصهاينة الإرهابيون يسجنونهم ويهدمون بيوتهم ويقتلونهم!
اللهم وفق الابن البار محمد واصرف عنه وعن أهله السوء واجعله متميزا!
— د. يوسف السند (@DrYALSANAD) January 21, 2022
Kuwait has long upheld a strict pro-Palestine stance, and has refused to normalise ties with the occupation state.
In a bid to harden the Gulf state’s anti-normalisation stance and its continue support for Palestinian rights, Kuwait’s parliament passed a bill last May prohibiting dealing with ‘Israel’ or any of kind of normalization with the occupation state, and stricter penalties for violators and collaborators with it.
The bill stipulates that anyone who violates the provisions of the law be punished with imprisonment for a period of not less than a year and not exceeding three years, and a fine not exceeding five thousand dinars.
Also, any expressions of sympathy with ‘Israel’ are to be outlawed.
The Kuwaiti Public Works Minister, Rana Abdullah Al-Fares, also issued an order in December banning the entry of commercial vessels carrying goods to and from ‘Israel’ into Kuwaiti territorial waters.
According to Kuwaiti newspaper Al Anba, the issued order prohibits entry permits being requested for ships carrying goods to or from ‘Israel’.
The order applies even if goods being carried from ‘Israel’ are being brought to another country outside of Kuwait.
This is not the first time Arab players reject to play against players from the occupation state of ‘Israel’.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, the International Olympic Committee sent Egyptian Islam El Shehaby home before the end of the Games for refusing to shake the hand of an Israeli athlete.
Last July, Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool didn’t show up to face the Israeli player Tohar Butbul in their round of 32 bout, despite weighing in for the bout earlier, as a form of rejecting normalization with the occupation state.
Also, Algerian Fethi Nourine withdrew from facing the same Israeli player, saying he didn’t want to compete against Butbul due to his political support of Palestine.
Nourine had also withdrawn from the World Championship in 2019 after he was unlucky in the lottery, being matched with an Israeli settler.