עברית

 


PMW Bulletins
PA officials: Israeli-Palestinian football match is "a crime against humanity"
Share |
                       
 PA sports officials condemn friendly game between Palestinian and Israeli kids:

"A crime against humanity"
 
"An act conceived by sick souls"
"A crime and an unpatriotic and immoral act" 
 
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
 
Last week, Palestinian and Israeli boys met in Southern Israel to play in a football match organized by the Israeli Peres Center for Peace. The Palestinian Authority daily reprinted an article from Agence France-Presse that described the match and the initiative in a positive light. However, news of the joint sports activity with "the Zionist enemy" was not well received by PA and Fatah leaders.

In reaction to the friendly game, Jibril Rajoub, Deputy Secretary of Fatah's Central Committee and Head of the Palestinian Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs, stated that:

"Any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity."
 
Rajoub stated that "for a while now the Palestinian sports leadership and community - the Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs, the Palestinian Olympic Committee and the Palestinian Football Association - have opposed such activities," and specified that "normalization in sports with the Zionist occupation is a crime." He demanded that "all individuals and institutions distance themselves from such activities, especially because their recurrence would arouse disgust and aversion towards all members of the [Palestinian] sports community." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 8, 2014]
  
Others called for an investigation and for the prosecution of the Palestinian organizers who agreed to the match with the Israelis. Denouncing the match as "a crime and an unpatriotic and immoral act," member of the Palestinian Olympic Committee Abd Al-Salam Haniyeh demanded that Rajoub "immediately interrogate the organizers of the match, settle the account with them and prosecute them on charges of serious treason against the blood of the Martyrs [who died in the Gaza war] and violation of the decisions made by the Palestinian sports community's leadership." [Sama, independent Palestinian news agency, Sept. 3, 2014]

The National Committee Against Normalization in Palestine "condemned the participation of children from the West Bank in a football match between Palestinian and Israeli children," and "called on the heads of the Palestinian sports [community] and the Palestinian leadership to discover who is behind this 'normalization match.'" The Committee's Secretary General, Jihad Uweida, expressed "surprise" and "astonishment" that Palestinians would "do Israel a free service" by participating in such an event at a time when the National Committee Against Normalization in Palestine "is conducting an international campaign for expelling Israeli sports from the international sports system, and after international sports organizations expressed their intention of boycotting this entity [Israel]." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 5, 2014]

The leadership of Fatah's branch in Yatta, the hometown of the boys participating in the match, held "an urgent meeting to discuss the ramifications of the normalization matches" and "strongly condemned" the event. Fatah branch secretary Dr. Kamal Makhamreh said that the participation in the match "was an individual act, conceived by sick souls that agreed to be humiliated for a handful of money," and he "urged the residents to supervise their children and distance them from these kinds of activities, which damage our cause." Another Fatah official, the Yatta branch spokesperson, Muhammad Al-Birawi, said that Fatah "has demanded that the [Palestinian] Security Forces settle the account with these reckless people (i.e., the Palestinian organizers of the event)." [Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, Sept. 4, 2014]
  
 
This is not the first time PA and Fatah leaders have opposed what they refer to as "normalization" with Israel in sports. In a video publicized by Palestinian Media Watch last year, Jibril Rajoub stated that he would fire any Palestinian sportsman who engages in "normalization" with Israel.
 
Click to view

The following is the positive report on the Israeli-Palestinian match from Agence France-Presse, which was reprinted by the official PA daily:

Headline: "Palestinian and Israeli children participate in friendly football matches a few kilometers from the devastated Gaza Strip"

"After a summer of brutal war, destruction and fatalities, Palestinian and Israeli children met on Monday [Sept. 1, 2014] to participate in football matches a few kilometers from the devastated Gaza Strip.
 
About a week after the ceasefire that put an end to the destructive war in Gaza, which lasted 50 days, approximately 80 children, ages 6-16, met for a tournament in Kibbutz Dorot, located in southern Israel, where rockets launched from the Gaza Strip had landed.
 
The Israeli children came from communities located near the besieged Gaza Strip, while the Palestinian children came from Yatta in the southern Gaza Strip (sic, should be West Bank. Yatta is a city south of Hebron).
 
This tournament was part of an initiative that was launched 12 years ago, whose original aim was to bring Palestinian [boy]s from occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli boys closer together. Many of the children had already played in previous tournaments organized by the Peres Center for Peace, which is run by former Israeli President Shimon Peres.
 
The tension was easily discernable at first, but the young players' enthusiasm for the game eventually prevailed. The war in Gaza resulted in the death of 2,140 Palestinians, a quarter of them children, and of 71 Israelis - most of them soldiers. Ofer, 11, from Sderot, a town in southern Israel where many rockets had landed, said: 'It's great to come back here and enjoy our time [together], after weeks of being stuck at home during the war.'
 
Qusai, 11, said: 'I love it when we play together like this. I hope that one day there will be peace between Arabs and Jews and that there will be no more wars and death...
 
Shimon Peres, who concluded his term as ninth President of Israel in July [2014] was also present... Peres, the 90-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said, while holding a football: 'Don't play against each other but with each other.'" 
From Agence France-Presse 
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 3, 2014]
 
 
The following are longer excerpts of the reports on the PA and Fatah leaders' condemnations of the friendly game:

Headline: "Rajoub: 'Normalization in sports with the Zionist occupation is a crime'"

"[Deputy Secretary of Fatah's Central Committee,] Head of the [Palestinian] Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs, Chairman of the Olympic Committee, and Chairman of the [Palestinian] Football Association Jibril Rajoub said any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity. He said that the position of the sports [community] leadership on the issue is perfectly clear.
 
Rajoub's statements were made in response to a sports activity held a few days ago (i.e., a football match between Palestinian and Israeli children sponsored by the Israeli Peres Center for Peace).
 
This [event] was publicized by internet sites and local newspapers.
 
Rajoub emphasized the following points:
 
1.    The game was an Israeli attempt to cover up their crimes against [Palestinian] athletes. It is a disgrace to use sports for this purpose.
 
2.    If there are Israeli parties who believe sport is a means of spreading values and peace, they should come out against the occupation's crimes against Palestinian athletes, whether the restriction of their movement, the destruction of their [sports] facilities or the physical elimination of dozens of them...
 
3.    For a while now the Palestinian sports leadership and community - the Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs, the Palestinian Olympic Committee and the Palestinian Football Association - have opposed such activities.
 
4.    I demand that all individuals and institutions distance themselves from such activities, especially because their recurrence would arouse disgust and aversion towards all members of the [Palestinian] sports community."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 8, 2014]
 
Note: Rajoub also posted his comments on his official Facebook page, Sept. 6, 2014.

Headline: "The National Committee Against Normalization [in Palestine] condemned the 'Palestinian-Israeli' football match"

"The Executive Office of the National Committee Against Normalization in Palestine published an announcement in which it condemned the participation of children from the West Bank in a football match between Palestinian and Israeli children, held by the Peres Center for Peace at the Gaza envelope (i.e., in Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip), near a Zionist kibbutz, which constitutes normalization [with Israel].
 
Secretary General of the National Committee [Against Normalization] Jihad Uweida said the committee's Executive Office was stunned by the timing and location of the match, at a time when the blood of our people and children in the Gaza Strip and of the Martyrs (Shahids) of the sports movements has not yet dried...
 
The Executive Office of the National Committee [Against Normalization] called on the heads of the Palestinian sports [community] and the Palestinian leadership to discover who is behind this 'normalization match' at such a time, and who benefits from holding meetings of this kind.
 
Uweida emphasized that the National Committee Against Normalization is surprised and astonished that while it is conducting an international campaign for expelling Israeli sports from the international sports system, and after international sports organizations expressed their intention of boycotting this entity [Israel], a Palestinian party would do this entity a free service."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 5, 2014]
 
Headline: "Fatah in Yatta condemns normalization meetings with Israelis"
 
"The [Fatah] branch leadership in Yatta held an urgent meeting to discuss the ramifications of the normalization matches held between Palestinian children from the city of Yatta villages and Israeli children, which were supervised by the Peres Center for Peace, and [held] in the presence of former President of the State of Israel Shimon Peres.
 
The meeting's participants strongly condemned this event, especially in light of the fact that our people are being subject to the most heinous racist attack, manifested in the murder of the children of Gaza and the West Bank by the most powerful war machine in the region.  
 
[Fatah] branch secretary Dr. Kamal Makhamreh said: 'The occupation is attempting to improve its criminal image, which was revealed in the murder of our children in Gaza, by holding such normalization meetings, while using weak-minded people, who in turn have exploited the innocence of some children, deceived them and dragged them to this kind of normalization meetings. Therefore, we at Fatah's Yatta branch, emphasize that this was an individual act, conceived by sick souls that agreed to be humiliated for a handful of money. This act does not represent the nature and character of the residents of the village of Yatta, who are defending their land with resolve in face of the settlement monster, by standing against the herds of settlers who attack their lands on a daily basis.'
 
Makhamreh urged the residents to supervise their children and distance them from these kinds of activities, which damage our cause.
 
The Yatta branch spokesperson Muhammad Al-Birawi said the branch committee... will strike with a fist of iron any who allow themselves to tarnish the image of Yatta, the city of Martyrs (Shahids) and prisoners - especially as the [Fatah] movement] has launched a campaign for boycotting Israeli products and will not allow this kind of act, which is being condemned by the people and organizations, to repeat itself. Al-Birawi also said the movement has demanded that the [Palestinian] Security Forces settle the account with these reckless people (i.e., the Palestinian organizers of the event)."
[Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, Sept. 4, 2014]
 
"Palestinian Olympic Committee member Abd Al-Salam Haniyeh denounced the match held between Palestinian and Israeli children. He considered it a crime and an unpatriotic and immoral act.
 
Haniyeh said these matches are completely unacceptable to the sports community, the Olympic Committee, the Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs and the Palestinian Football Association.
 
He added: 'The [Palestinian] organizers of this match betrayed the blood of the children of Gaza and of the Martyrs (Shahid), which has yet to dry a week after the end of the barbaric Israeli aggression, which resulted in the deaths of more than 2,150 Martyrs, the wounding of more than 13,000 people and thousands of homes that were brought down on the heads of their inhabitants.
 
Haniyeh demanded that Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub immediately interrogate the [Palestinian] organizers of the match, settle the account with them and prosecute them on charges of serious treason against the blood of the Martyrs and violation of the decisions made by the Palestinian sports community's leadership.
 
It should be noted that the sports meeting between Palestinian and Israeli youth was held in an Israeli settlement a few kilometers from the Gaza Strip's border with Israel. The meeting was organized by the Peres Center for Peace."
[Sama, independent Palestinian news agency, Sept. 3, 2014] 
 


Previous Bulletin Next Bulletin



PMW Bulletins Archive




Created by swat