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Official PA daily prints positive report on friendly football match between Palestinian and Israeli kids

The positive article below elicited harsh criticism of the event from PA officials, who condemned the children's football match as "a crime against humanity." To view the full PMW bulletin with the PA officials' responses, click here.

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

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