Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur faces backlash following ‘Free Palestine’ Instagram story

An official complaint has been filed by the Israeli Tennis Association to the Women's Tennis Association

An official complaint has been filed by the Israeli Tennis Association to the Women's Tennis Association over Ons Jabeur's post. Reuters
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Israeli Tennis Association has filed an official complaint to the Women’s Tennis Association against Tunisian Tennis star, Ons Jabeur, following an Instagram story showing support for Palestinians amid the continuing Israel-Gaza war,

The ITA sent correspondence to the International Tennis Federation to alert the WTA and sanction the Tunisian athlete.

On October 11, Ms Jabeur published a story on her official Instagram account in which she expressed her support for Palestinians.

“What Palestinians have been going through the past 75 years is indescribable. What innocent civilians are going through is indescribable; no matter what their religion is, or what their origin is,” Ms Jabeur said.

“We all want to achieve peace. Peace is all we need and deserve. Stop the violence. Free Palestine,” she added.

The ITA accused Ms Jabeur of incitement and “supporting a terrorist organisation”.

Avi Pertz, the president of the Israel Tennis Association, strongly condemned Jabeur’s comments.

“This tennis player [Ons Jabeur] incites and supports a murderous terrorist organisation. We’re glad she’s in the minority compared to sane athletes in the rest of the world,” Mr Pertz said.

Other Tunisian and Arab athletes are facing similar criticism after taking stances in support of Palestinians.

Tunisia’s national football team and footballer Issa Laidouni, of Union Berlin, garnered anger from his club's fans after expressing his support for those in Gaza.

Fans of the Bundesliga club are calling for the football team to take disciplinary actions against the Tunisian midfielder, with some requesting his contract to be terminated.

About 3,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza and 12,500 have been injured. More than 1200 Israelis have been killed as a result of the recent war.

Updated: October 17, 2023, 4:00 PM