PETALING JAYA: The Jalur Gemilang is flying high at Yarmouk Stadium in Gaza, Palestine, after the Malaysian government banned Israeli athletes from an upcoming Paralympics swimming qualifier.
Free Malaysia Today reported that the flag was flown by Palestinian football fans as a token of appreciation and to celebrate Malaysia's stand on Israel.
Photos of the stadium also showed that a banner reading: "Thank you Malaysia for standing against the normalisation (of relations) with the so-called 'Israel'."
"The (display of flags and the banner) at the football fields is a show of support for Malaysia, to show how glad Palestinians are," Palestinian Cultural Organisation Malaysia chairman Muslim Imran told the news portal.
"Malaysia's stand was well received by Palestine, especially in Gaza," he said.
Football fans in Gaza, Palestine celebrate Malaysia's bold anti- Israeli apartheid stand.— Muslim Imran (@muslim4islam) January 20, 2019
Vid from Yarmouk football field, Gaza city.#BDS @PCOMalaysia @BDSmovement @chedetofficial @SyedSaddiq @saifuddinabd @MalaysiaMFA @bernamadotcom @PMOMalaysia @SinarOnline @NST_Online pic.twitter.com/pQQ52FZS1I
He added that Palestinians were also responding with a #SupportMalaysia hashtag on social media.
Malaysia does not maintain diplomatic relations with Israel, and Israeli athletes have been barred from the World Para Swimming championships to be held in Sarawak in July.
Swimmers from some 70 countries are expected to compete in the World Para Swimming Championships, an important milestone before next year's Tokyo Paralympics.
On Saturday (Jan 19), Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia had the right to keep its border closed to certain people, especially from countries the nation feels were doing a lot of wrong things.
He stressed that Israelis should not come to Malaysia as the country did not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
On Thursday (Jan 17), it was reported that Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon called on the International Paralympic Committee, which organises the competition, to change the venue if it could persuade Malaysia to lift the ban.