Hamas praised a Lebanese 11-year-old contestant at a table tennis tournament in Portugal on Saturday for refusing to play against the Israeli contestant and pulling out of the tournament so that she wouldn’t have to.
Contestants worldwide traveled to Portugal late in November, some of which were coming for the teen division of the tournament. Contestants in the World Table Tennis (WTT) Youth Star Contender Vila Nova de Gaia 2022 were set to play in the semi-final round, when 11-year-old Bissan Chiri of Lebanon refused to play her opponent, an Israeli contestant.
Chiri would have played 15-year-old Elinor Davidov, who was representing Israel in the tournament. Instead, Chiri decided to withdraw from the competition entirely. Though her official reason for withdrawing from the competition was not officially shared, her choice to depart the tournament rather than play Israeli athletes received widespread praise throughout the Arab world.
On November 26th, Hamas issued a press release praising the young girl. Hamas, while based in Gaza, has recently been cooperating in conjunction with Hezbollah. However, operating in Lebanon has landed Hamas in hot water with Hezbollah, whose turf was invaded in the process.