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Indonesia may not play Fed Cup tie in Israel

Written by: Staff
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JAKARTA, July 4 (Reuters) Indonesia may pull out of a Fed Cup tennis tie with Israel in Tel Aviv this month because of Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip, Jakarta's Foreign Ministry said today.

Israel has launched the operation to force Palestinian militants in Gaza to release a soldier they captured in a cross-border raid on June 25.

An Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Jakarta was reconsidering whether the country's team should visit Israel.

Leading women tennis players from Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, are set to clash with their Israeli counterparts in a World Group II playoff on July 15-16.

''Previously, we said that competing there for the Indonesia team is possible,'' spokesman Desra Percaya said.

But he added: ''Seeing the current situation of military aggression by Israeli attacks which are execrable and that the victims of its attacks are the civilian people of Palestine, we are reconsidering.'' The Israel Tennis Association issued a statement saying preparations for the tie were going ahead.

''We are continuing to organise the event and we await the arrival of the Indonesians as planned on the morning of July 13,'' Israeli association spokesman Lidor Goldberg said.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry, Sports Ministry and Indonesian Tennis Federation representatives were due to meet later on Tuesday to discuss the issue, Percaya said.

Ferry August Raturandang, vice president of the Indonesian Tennis Federation, told Reuters: ''I don't know about it yet. In this case, we will talk to the (Federation) chairman.'' In late May -- after debate and confusion over whether the team should go and an unsuccessful attempt to change the venue -- Indonesia said it regarded the match as unrelated to political issues.

Indonesia is a staunch supporter of an independent Palestinian state and a critic of Israel, with which it does not have diplomatic relations.

The issue is important to many local Muslim and secular politicians in Indonesia, the world's third largest democracy.

REUTERS PM HT1440

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