Demonstrate for Palestine at the Hapoel Tel Aviv game on Dec 2
Israel attacks Palestinian sports facilities, bombed Gaza stadium
Israel usually prevents the Palestinian team from competing:
- Before the last World Cup, Israel forced Gaza players to wait weeks at the Israeli-controlled Rafah border to join their West Bank team-mates for training - in Egypt!
- Stopped from travelling to play a World Cup qualifier in Singapore in 2007, they were eliminated for failing to turn up. FIFA refused to allow them to re-schedule.
- The team were barred from travelling to India in May 2008 for the AFC Challenge Cup with possible qualification for the 2011 Asia Cup.
- The Palestinian National Youth Football Team was barred from re-entering Gaza for over a month after they competed in Jordan in June 2007.
- The British government helped Israel by refusing visas to enter Britain for a tour - the official reason being that the Palestinian players were ‘too poor to be trusted to return home’. (These are the most tenacious people in the world in clinging to their homeland despite massive Israeli violence!)
- The team are usually forced to play "home" matches in a virtually empty stadium - abroad.
- Israel allowed the Palestinian national team one single match on home soil, in October 2008 but not in Jerusalem and team captain, Saeb Jundiya, was barred from leaving Gaza.
During Israel’s assault on Gaza three Palestinian players were killed in their homes by Israeli bombs: Wajih Mushtahi, Khalil Jaber and Ayman Alkurd (pictured).
Israel bans footballs (as well as pasta and coffee) from entering Gaza!
Israel claims footballs, pasta and coffee could be used for military purposes. The real purpose is to cause hunger and misery to the people of Gaza.
Most Palestinians are refugees, victims of earlier waves of Israeli ethnic cleansing, and exile means they are unable to participate in the national sporting institutions of their country.
Palestinian children play football in fear of Israeli snipers who may decide at any time to have some fun. A few examples of child-killing for sport:
- "The Israeli army claimed that the soldiers shot dead 11 year old Khalil in self-defence. However, a report issued by the Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, denies the Israeli army’s claims and accuses it of lying. Its investigation confirms that the 11 year old victim was playing football on 14 November 2001 with his friends when he was fatally shot."
- "Among the latest victims of apparently indiscriminate shooting were three teenagers and an eight-year-old, Yousef Abu Jaza, hit in the knee when soldiers shot at a group of children playing football in Khan Yunis…I can't imagine anyone who considers himself a human being can do this” Chris McGreal, July 28, ‘03. The Guardian
- Killing of three Gaza youths puts ceasefire under strain - Teenagers playing football shot in border zone. Chris McGreal, April 11, ‘05. The Guardian
Israeli forces shoot Palestinian boy dead as he plays football.
Donald Macintyre, 02 July ‘04. The Independent
"Yesterday at this spot the Israelis shot eight young men, six of whom were under the age of eighteen. One was twelve. This afternoon they kill an eleven-year-old boy, Ali Murad, and seriously wounded four more, three of whom are under eighteen. Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered—death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevo—but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport."
Chris Hedges reported for Harpers Magazine from Israeli-controlled Rafah in 2001