Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Indonesia pulls out of tennis match in Israel

From The Jakarta Post:
JAKARTA (AP): Indonesia has pulled out of a planned Fed Cup tennis match in Israel to protest against Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip, an Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman said Tuesday.

"We are witnessing a military invasion by Israel and the arrest of scores of Palestinian officials," spokesman Desra Percaya said. "It is now impossible to play there," he said.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, earlier asked that the venue be changed to another country, because Jakarta has no diplomatic relations with Israel.

But in May, the Indonesian government said it would allow the team to travel to Israel to contest the tennis playoff, scheduled for July 15-16.

Indonesia strongly supports Palestine freedom from the Israel's occupation. The Zionist regime is supported unconditionally by the United States. The U.S. is Israel's main source of weapons being used to terrorize the Palestinians. (***)
I am fascinated by the last paragraph. While AP is credited for the story, clearly they didn't write the last paragraph. (Perhaps the three asterisks symbolizes that.) And if you look elsewhere for the story, lo and behold, we see much more information that the Jakarta Post did not bother to copy from the original AP article:
Indonesia has long supported Palestinian independence and suggestions that ties with the Jewish state be restored are routinely met by large street protests and criticism from religious leaders.

Israel and Indonesia have matched up in the women's Fed Cup twice -- in 1974 in Italy and in Japan in 1981. Israel defeated Indonesia both times.

Indonesia must win July's playoff to stay in World Group II.

An Indonesian tennis official said earlier this year that if the team did not play the match then it would be fined and banned from the competition for one year.

In London at Wimbledon, the International Tennis Federation said that it had not been officially informed of the Indonesian decision and would make no comment.

In 1997, Morocco refused to go to Israel to compete in a European-African zone Davis Cup match. Morocco was allowed to compete in the Davis Cup the following year after an ITF management committee said it took into account unrest in Israel at the time, which it said affected the Muslim community.

As a result of its withdrawal, Morocco had to forfeit its match against Israel and was relegated to a lower group in the zone.
Perhaps what was really bothering the Indonesians was this quote from Haaretz last month:
"The event is one of political importance, as a means of improving the relations between the two countries," Hefetz said.