Malaysia Withdrew from Hosting 2017 FIFA Congress, Bahrain Stepped in, Welcoming the Israelis!

2016-10-20 - 1:18 am

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The Government of Bahrain does not need much time to think when it comes to pleasing Israel. The Gulf kingdom always volunteers and initiates when it comes to Israel, as did its foreign minister Khalid bin Ahmad Al Khalifa when he offered his condolences over Shimon Peres' death.

This time, Bahrain has made a quick move and offered to host the next congress of the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA). This sporting event wouldn't have raised any suspicions if Manama hadn't stepped in after Malaysia withdrew from hosting the congress.

Malaysia gave up its rights to host the 2017 FIFA Congress after it decided it did not want to upset local sensitivities by hosting an event that would require issuing visas to Israeli delegates, as well as displaying the Israeli flag during the congress.

Consequently, the Kingdom of Bahrain made its offer to host the event, simply because it wants to "welcome the Israelis".

Bahraini authorities did not officially announce they want to welcome the Israelis, yet by following the Bahraini government's tracks in its relations with the Zionist state shows that they just wanted to take a step forward towards normalization with Tel Aviv.

A statement issued by the international football governing body said that "the FIFA Congress will be held in Manama on Thursday, 11 May 2017" in the Bahraini capital Manama. Bahrain would be the second Gulf state to host the FIFA Congress following Doha in 2003.

Afandi Hamzah, the Deputy President of the Football Association of Malaysia said: "We were advised by the government to withdraw from hosting the congress due to security issues." Afandi declined to elaborate on what the "security issues" were but said it was tied to comments made by the Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi.

Zahid Hamidi who is also the Minister of Home Affairs said that Malaysia was unable to guarantee visas to delegates from certain countries like Israel, as it did not have any diplomatic ties with Israel.

Hosting such an event would also "upset local sensitivities" in Bahrain, but the Bahraini government does not care about upsetting its citizens. This was clearly reflected in a recent statement by the King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who declared that "opening diplomatic relations with Israel is only a matter of time."

It seems that Bahrain does not have any time to waste, as only two weeks before announcing it will allow the entrance of Israelis to the country, the Bahraini FM eulogized Israel's Peres as a "man of war" and "elusive peace".

The Bahraini Association Against Normalization denounced the statements made by Bahraini Foreign Minister in his speech to the UN Human Rights Council. The Bahraini association condemned the FM for "expressing his condolences over the death of a Zionist war criminal, who is directly responsible for the death of hundreds of Arabs."

After deeming the Bahraini FM's stance "shameful and embarrassing", the anti-Normalization association demanded the issuing of a decision and clear measure by the Bahraini government to dismiss the FM from his position.

The Malaysian people did not openly express their opposition to hosting the FIFA Congress, but their government respects its citizens' sensitivities and takes them into account before taking any decision. The Bahraini government; however, has proved time and again that it cares less about insulting its people with the decisions it makes.

Arabic Version    


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