Palestinian sports community appeals to UEFA to stop 2013 football tourney in Israel

The following statement is from Palestinian football clubs, organized under the name, Red Card Israeli Apartheid:

Sports contact with any country practising apartheid in sports condones and strengthens apartheid – International Convention Against Apartheid in Sports

ON JUNE 22, UEFA President Michel Platini received a letter signed by 42 football clubs and dozens of team captains, managers and sports personalities in Gaza, demanding that European football’s governing body reverse its decision to allow Israel to host the 2013 international under-21 tournament. The current tournament is drawing to a close in Denmark on June 25.

Occupied Palestine – June 22 2011

Mr. Platini,

We, Palestinian footballers, athletes and sporting organizations and officials, are dismayed that Israel has been rewarded for its continued impunity and violent oppression of our people with the honour of hosting the UEFA Under-21 tournament in 2013. This decision is a drastic reversal of your brave stand just last year against Israeli attacks on Palestinian sport and its persistent violations of universal principles of human rights.

You said: “We accepted them in Europe and furnished them the conditions for membership and they must respect the letter of the laws and international regulations otherwise there is no justification for them to remain in Europe. Israel must choose between allowing Palestinian sport to continue and prosper or be forced to face the consequences for their behaviour.”

We write today to remind you of the facts that no doubt informed this brave stance and to urge you to take steps to ensure that the 2013 tournament does not take place in Israel.

If this tournament goes ahead as planned, football fans from all over Europe and beyond will be given the impression that Israel is a country like any other, rather than one that practices a unique combination of occupation, colonization and apartheid against the indigenous Palestinian population. Games may be played at the Ramat Gan Stadium, which was built on land seized under the Absentee Property Owners Law of 1950, from the Palestinian villages of Jarisha and al-Jammasin al-Sharqi. Football should not preclude the refugees from these villages from returning to their lands, as is their UN-sanctioned right.

Israel’s violations of international law are numerous and continue unabated and impact Palestinian football and the people of Palestine more generally. The infamous Israeli permit system, which has been used to deny so many Palestinians the right to travel, is reminiscent of the “pass laws” of Apartheid South Africa, and is used to deny footballers the right to travel to international tournaments, or even participate in local practices, in violation of Article 33 of the Geneva Conventions barring collective punishment.[1]

The use of overwhelming force in Operation Cast Lead in winter 2008-09 was responsible for leveling large swathes of Gaza including the Rafah National Stadium[2], and killing football players Ayman Alkurd, Shadi Sbakhe and Wajeh Moshate, as well as over 1,400 other Gazans.[3]

Israel’s Apartheid Wall, ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004, runs its eight-meter-high solid concrete course less than 100 metres away from the Faisal Al Husseini Stadium in Al-Ram, the current national stadium of Palestine.[4] The arbitrary arrest of thousands of Palestinians, including Gazan Palestinian National Team member Mahmoud Kamel As-Sarsak, held without trial or indeed public explanation for their arrest, is a routine tool of Israeli occupation.[5]

Israel’s system of occupation, colonization and apartheid impacts Palestinian football and all Palestinians.

In the face of South African Apartheid, Ruud Gullit dedicated his 1987 European Footballer of the Year Award to Nelson Mandela. We call upon you to make a similar stand against Apartheid, by ensuring that Israel is not allowed to host the 2013 tournament, rather than allow the organization that you lead to reward Israel for its violent repression of Palestinian rights.

We look forward to your reply,



Alwehda (unity) Club-Rafah

Alasteqlal (independence) Club-Rafa

Jamaa’i Rafah Club

Alnuseirat Services Club

Deir Elbalah Services Club

Deir Elbalah Union Club

Alsalah Charity Club

Alwehda Club- Jabalia

Jabalia Youths Club

Beit Hanoun Civil Club

Beit Lahyia Club

Albureij Services Club

Alaqsa Club-Alnuseirat

Almaghazi Services Club

Alnuseirat Sefrvices Club

Alzawaida Youth Club

Jabalia Union Club

Ansaar Jabalia Club

Alkarama Club

Gaza Sporting Club

RafahYouths Club

ALtarabot Club- Deir Albalah

Albureij Civil Club

Alredwan Club

Hetteen Club

Alta3awn (Cooperation) Club

Alwefaq Club

Aljazeera Club

Alyarmouk Club

Alrayaan Club

Albureij Youths Club

Alrebaat Club

Alzawaida Union Club

Almaghazi Youths Club

Alqarara Club

Alataa’ Althahabi Club

Alshaf3′ Club

Alshareqa Club

Canada Club

Alqadessia Club

Tel Alsoultaan Club

Sports College—Al-Aqsa University

18 Club Managers and Players

Ibrahim Abu Salim (Vice President-Football Union)

Captain Hasaan Salah (vice president of soccer players veterans)

Captain Zoheir Edwan (President—Al-Wehda Club)

Captain Joma’ Alakhras (Presdeint-Al Estiqlal Club)

Captain Fathy Abu Ella (Rafah Services Club)

Captain Kamal Alashqar (Nusairat Services Club)

Captain Jamal Albuheissy (Deir El Balah Services Club)

Captain Jaber Ayaash (El Salah Club)

Captain Eissa Zaher (President-Jabalia Youth Club)

Captain Amer Alemawi (President-Beit Hanoun National Club)

Captain Sameer Albarawi(President-Beit Lahia National Club)

Captain Mohammed Abo Shoqwa (President- Bureij Services Club)

Captain Mohammed Zureid (President-Al-Aqsa Club)

Captain Iyaad Alhozoqi (President-Nusairat National Club)

Captain Jalal Abu Zayed (President-Al Zawaida Club)

Captain Mousa Abu Zeer (President-Gaza Sporting Club)

Captain Islam Qeshtaa

Ali Rabei (President-Rafah Jamaai Club)

Plus 19 other Palestinian sporting figures

Naser Dababesh, club head, Al Ahli Palestinian Club

Nather Gaber, coach, Al Repat Palestinian Club

Salah Gber, vice-president, Deir El-Balah Youth Union

Abdallah al Saqa, soccer player, Al Sadaqa Club

Mohammed abu Aita, soccer player, Al Sadaqa Club

Islam Salama, soccer player, Al Beach Club

Iyad al Jiesh, soccer player, Disabled Union

Mazen Sarhan, board member, Disabled Union

Abed Rabo al Tahrawi, board member, Al Redwan Club

Wesam Jadallah, volleyball player, Al Sadaqa Sports Club

Yasser Dawood, volleyball player, Al Sadaqa Sports Club

Asa’d al Majdalawi, volleyball player, Al Sadaqa Sports Club

Khaled Shameia, club head, Al Naser Arab Club

Ali Abu Hasheesh, club head, Al Beach Club

Saeb Jondeya, soccer player, Al Sheja’ia Club

Naim Sweerki, coach, Al Sheja’ia Club

Amer Abu Ramadan, club head, Al Helal Club

Tayseer Abed al Jawad, union head, Handball Union

Ramzi Jaber, sports teacher, Al Aqsa University

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