Indonesia reconsiders sending team to Israel for Fed Cup playoff

JAKARTA, July 4, 2006 (AFP) – Indonesia was reconsidering Tuesday a decision to send its Fed Cup tennis team to Israel this month due to Israeli military action in Gaza, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

"The government is still considering whether or not it will send a team to participate in the Fed Cup playoff in Israel. We haven’t decided yet," foreign ministry spokesman Desra Percaya told AFP.

Percaya had said in late May that it was "possible" for the Fed Cup team to travel to Israel. The country’s tennis association said the team would head to Israel after a request to hold it in a third country was rejected.

Indonesia had wanted the July World Group II playoff match moved to a neutral third country, citing bitter ideological differences between the two sides.

Percaya said Tuesday however that the delay in finalising a decision was due to "excessive military action by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip" in recent days.

Israeli forces have launched raids on the Gaza Strip for seven straight nights in the wake of the capture of a 19-year-old Israeli soldier on June 25 during an attack on an army post.

Officials from the Indonesian Tennis Association could not immediately be reached for comment.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, is a staunch supporter of the Palestinian struggle for nationhood and has no diplomatic ties with Israel.

Indonesia, currently 16th in the Fed Cup rankings, was relegated to the playoffs after losing 4-0 to China in a World Group II tie in April.

Indonesia’s team is spearheaded by former junior Wimbledon and French Open champion Angelique Widjaja, who is struggling to make a comeback after knee surgery forced her to miss the 2005 season.