By Amjad Baker
The Palestinian Olympic Committee said it opposed a commemorative monument set up at Sydney Olympic Park and called for the games to be held away from politics.
Secretary General of the Palestinian Olympic Committee Omar Hussein Ali urged the international Olympic Committee (IOC) not to politicize the games because it is "totally against its noble aims."
The Israeli Olympic Committee first demanded the monument be set up in 1996 to coincide with the Palestinians' first participation in the Olympic games. Ali told Albawaba that "as soon as the Jews suggested a minute of silence to be observed and the monument set up, we contacted the Arab Games Federation and the IOC to find a solution to the problem without politicizing the games."
Ali said he feared that should the IOC respond to Israel's request, Arabs would in turn "request their own monuments and minutes of silence in memory of massacres committed against them." He cited the massacres of Qibya, Deir Yassin and Khalil in Palestine, Bahr El-Baqar in Egypt and Qana in Lebanon noting, "this is not the right time or the right event to bring up such a subject, especially with the progression of the peace talks.
sHowever Ali praised the IOC for acting "wisely earlier, by not responding to Israeli demands." He said such issues should not affect the spirit of the Olympic games, a symbol of peace and love." –Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )