Embargo: Friday 15th June 2012

Scottish Palestine
Solidarity Campaign: Media Release


Campaigners are set to protest  the Scotland v Israel Women's Euros Qualifier at Edinburgh's 
Tynecastle Stadium tomorrow (Sat16th June) after "urgent" calls from FIFA president, Sepp Blatter,
that Israeli authorities end their "alleged illegal detention of Palestine football players".

Blatter is particularly concerned about 25 year-old Mahmoud
Sarsak, who has been on hunger strike for around 90 days in protest at his indefinite
detention without charge or trial. Doctors say that Sarsak, who was arrested 3
years ago while on his way to play for the national team, is on the verge of
death. FIFA has called on Israel to ensure the "physical integrity of the
concerned players as well as their right for due process"

Support for the jailed Palestinian players was boosted this
week when football legend Eric Cantona and the anti-racist campaign, Show
Racism the Red Card, were amongst a range of public figures to co-sign a
statement condemning the "racism, human rights abuses and gross violations of
international law" they say are daily occurrences in Israel.

Their letter to UK Sports Minister Hugh Robertson, UEFA
President Michel Platini, and other European government and sporting bodies,
continues, "He [Sarsak], and all victims of abuse by the Israeli state, need
our support. It is time to end Israel's impunity and to insist on the same
standards of equality, justice and respect for international law that we demand
of other states."

Amnesty International also criticised Israel for its use of "administrative
detention" in order "to suppress legitimate and peaceful activities in the
Palestinian territories".

Campaign groups in Scotland, including  Friends of AL-Aqsa and the Scottish Palestine
Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) say "there should be no business as usual for
Israel's national teams while Israel denies Palestinians the same privileges."

SPSC chair Mick Napier said "common decency dictates that
while Israel continues to jail Palestinian national players at will—without
charge or trial—Israel's national teams should be protested wherever they go.

"Mahmoud Sarsak's demands are not contentious outside
Israel: he should be charged and tried, or released. Otherwise, after 3 years
of imprisonment and 90 days of hunger strike, Israel will have yet another
death on its hands. FIFA is right—the situation is urgent."


Notes for editors:

1. The match takes place at Edinburgh's Tynecastle Stadium;
kick-off at 3pm.
Match details: UEFA Women's Euros Qualifier between Scotland
Women's A v Israel Women's A
More details on the Scottish FA website:

2. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign started in autumn 2000 in response to the Palestinian
second uprising against Israeli occupation (Intifada). The SPSC has branches
and groups of supporters in several Scottish cities and universities, as well
as individual members across Scotland and elsewhere.

For further information, contact:
SPSC Chair, Mick Napier: 0131 620 0052; 07958002591
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.scottishpsc.org.uk

3. Friends of Al-Aqsa can be contacted via: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Details: http://www.foa.org.uk/events/protest-israel-football-team-playing-in-edinburgh

4. FIFA statement:

5. Statement co-signed by Eric Cantona, Show Racism the Red
Card, and others: http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/cantona-fifa-join-pressure-israel-hunger-striker-mahmoud-sarsak-determined-reach

6. Amnesty International's "Starved of Justice" report is
cited in the Guardian, 6 June 2012, "Palestinian footballer's hunger strike sparks fears for his
life": http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/06/palestinian-hunger-strike-fears-life 

7. Media release from the Professional Footballers' Union,
FIFPro, on Mahmoud Sarsak:

8. Government-sanctioned racism in Israel:
Guardian, 31 May 2012, "Interior minister Eli Yishai uses
interview to suggest many African migrants are criminals infected with HIV":

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