Lebanon has pulled out of this year's Eurovision song contest because of the presence of an Israeli participant in the show, organizers said Friday.
A statement posted on the Eurovision Web site said Lebanon was forced to withdraw because its national television station could not broadcast the Israeli portions of the contest, to be held May 19 and 21 in Kiev, Ukraine.
Tele Liban's head, Ibrahim Khoury, confirmed the decision to pull out, telling The Associated Press that Lebanon was unaware of the presence of an Israeli participant when it confirmed its entry in December.
'Lebanon is in a state of war with Israel. If the Israeli contestant wins, we would have to show the celebrations,' Khoury said. He added that Lebanon would also be obliged to air the Israeli Web site on which viewers could vote for the Israeli participant. 'I cannot do this,' he said.
Khoury said the decision to withdraw was 'painful,' particularly as Lebanon was participating with a talented contestant, Aline Lahoud, who has also pulled out of the show.
The station is obligated to pay its participation fee, plus an additional penalty which Khoury did not specify.
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