Kuwait declines co-hosting World Cup to avoid 'normalising Israeli enemy'

Kuwait declines co-hosting World Cup to avoid 'normalising Israeli enemy'
Kuwait has refused to co-host the World Cup with Qatar to avoid dealing with the 'Zionist enemy', saying the Palestinian sovereignty of Jerusalem is high on the Kuwaiti agenda.
2 min read
05 January, 2019
Kuwait refuses to 'give up its principles' by 'normalising Israel' [Getty]

Kuwait has declined Qatar’s offer to co-host the World Cup 2022 because it does not want to normalise relations with Israel, officials have said.

Kuwaiti MP Walid al-Tabtabai announced on his Twitter account that Kuwait will refuse to succumb to “temporary interests” and deal with the “Zionist entity” by co-hosting the World Cup.

He tweeted using the hashtag: “No to normalisation by hosting matches during the World Cup”.

“We in Kuwait refuse to give up our principles for temporary interests and for this reason we refuse to normalise with the Zionist entity to host two or more matches of the World Cup”, he added.

“The issue of occupied Palestine and our holy places in Jerusalem is not negotiable, and the Zionists remain the enemy,” al-Tabtabai continued in the tweet.

The tweet came after Israeli media went into uproar after another Kuwaiti official said Kuwait’s refusal was to “avoid dealing with all nationalities”, without directly mentioning Israel.

“It is difficult to apply some of the major Fifa conditions in Kuwait, especially allowing all nationalities to enter the country or to issue visas upon arrival” Kuwait Football Association President Sheikh Ahmad Yousef told local al-Rai newspaper on Thursday.

Kuwait has maintained consistently unsparring towards Israel, both domestically and on the international stage.

In May, Kuwait urged the UN Security Council to condemn Israel's use of force against Palestinian civilians "in the strongest terms," especially in the besieged Gaza Strip, and to deploy and international force to protect civilians.

A draft resolution circulated by Kuwait, which is the Arab representative on the council, also demands that Israel "immediately cease its military reprisals, collective punishment and unlawful use of force against civilians, including in the Gaza Strip."

Israel's Ambassador Danny Danon responded to the draft resolution, saying, "the cynicism and attempts to distort reality have reached a new low. Israel will continue to defend its sovereignty and the security of its citizens against the terror and murderous violence of Hamas.”

‘You child killers’

Kuwait’s parliamentary speaker made global headlines in 2017 after lambasting Israel for being “child killers” and kicking out its representative from a conference in Russia.

Marzouk al-Ghanim launched the tirade during his speech at the Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference, stating the Israeli delegate "represents the most dangerous form of terrorism; state terrorism".

"You should take your bags and leave this hall. Leave now if you have an atom of dignity…you occupier, you child killers," he added in the midst of applause, before the Israeli official walked out.

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