Palestinian Football continually oppressed by Apartheid Israel – A report by Nonviolence International and Palestine Football Association

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Israel Hinders Football in Occupied Palestine: 2008-2014
By Nonviolence International and Palestine Football Association
Author: Mariabruna Jennings
Editors: Jonathan Kuttab, Susan Shalabi-Molano

June 10, 2014

Table of Contents

Executive Summary………………………………………………………………………………………………………..3
Infrastructure………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6
Zoning Ordeals…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6
Cases of Active Israeli Intervention………………………………………………………………………. 7
Restrictions of Movement………………………………………………………………………………………………..8
Pre-FIFA Mechanism……………………………………………………………………………………………8
Post-FIFA Mechanism………………………………………………………………………………………… 23
Hindering Shipments of Donated Sports Equipment………………………………………………………….. 28
Political Intervention……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 29
Human Rights Violations……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 30
References……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 32
Appendix……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 33

Executive Summary: Israel Hinders Football in Occupied Palestine
By Nonviolence International and the Palestine Football Association: June 10, 2014
Palestine Football Association (PFA). a non-governmental entity, and many of those involved in it are the victims of systemic acts of violence and other practices carried out by the Israeli Army to stifle the sport. The PFA suffers from 5 Israeli imposed practices which are enumerated in this report. Although FIFA took measures to end two of these practices, (obstacles to movement and receipt of equipment) pursuant to FIFA Circular no. 1385 these measures have been largely ineffective due to Israeli non-compliance. The PFA and Nonviolence International demand that that FIFA take corrective action.
INFRASTRUCTURE:
The Israeli Occupation leaves the vast majority of Palestinian land under Israeli influence or control, where permits for new stadia are almost never granted. Furthermore, active intervention by Israeli forces inhibits the operation of existing football pitches and stadia.
EXAMPLES OF ISRAELI INTERVENTION
 Halting construction of artificial turf pitches in Burin, Beit Ummar, and Beit Foreeq in 2010
 Halting of the building of a grass pitch in Beit Leqya under zoning pretenses.
 Halting of construction of the Sa’as Sayel Stadium due to alleged ‘security reasons’
 Halting of the Beit Ummar Stadium due to ‘security reasons’: proximity to Road #60
 Halting of Majed Asaad Stadium in Al-Bireh due to alleged ‘security reasons’: cheering spectators
 Bombing of Palestine Stadium in Gaza in 2012
 Halting of a children’s match at the Al-Zaitun pitch in 2013 before shutting down operations indefinitely
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT:
Israeli authorities not only inhibit the Palestine National Team from convening as a single entity but also impede foreign football delegations’ entry into the West Bank, greatly diminishing the development of football within Palestine.
IMPEDIMENTS TO GAZANS: ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE OF ISRAELI POLICY
The Palestinian National Team faces difficulties when uniting players from Gaza and the West Bank, as Israeli authorities seldom issue these athletes and officials permits, stifling their professional development. This policy adversely impacts Palestinian football teams, inhibiting them from practicing and competing together. A right enjoyed by any other football team regardless of a player’s origin, it is denied to football under the Occupation. As Illustrated below, Israel authorities continue inhibiting movement within Palestine in stark contravention of FIFA Circular no, 1385.

 16 U14 footballers prohibited from entering the West Bank to train with the national team (February 2013)
 5 PFA members delayed from entering Palestine for the AFC U19 Men’s Qualifiers (October 2013)
 7 members of the PFA, POC, and media were prohibited from participating in Youth Week, including Mr. Amassi,, a high-ranking official (November 2013)
 3 National Team players prohibited from joining the team for the WAFF 8th Men’s Championship (December 2013)
PREVENTION THROUGH PROCEDURAL DELAYS
Israeli authorities are wont to prolong the permit obtaining process for foreign sporting delegations, forcing applicants to wait oftentimes between 3 days to 3 months for their confirmation to enter Palestine. Permits are sometimes granted after or in the midst of the scheduled affair, curtailing the Palestinian teams ability to interact with other football teams, and diminishing opportunities for football development in Palestine. Whilst official Israeli documents claim that most permits were approved, these statistics are
misleading because, although approved, permits are often delayed such that individuals can no longer complete their tasks in Palestine regardless of their acceptance into the territory.

 2 players of the Myanmar Women’s team were delayed for hours because they both used a different passport from the ones originally submitted to the PFA. Although their permits were later prepared, they could not play the scheduled match because of the physical and mental exhaustion caused by the ordeal (May 2013)
 Iraqi children’s team was detained in their vehicle for hours attempting to cross Allenby Bridge. Initially, the entire Iraqi delegation of 38 individuals was prohibited from crossing into Palestine; however, the authorities allowed the team—save 5 people—entry but only a few days following the commencement of the tournament (August 2013)
 13 staff members, 6 members of the Jordanian team, 10 members of the UAE team were rejected one day before the competition, prompting the PFA to contact international football institutions such as the FIFA and UEFA. After pressure from the international football community, the Israeli authorities permitted most of the individuals. Successive delays resulted in most visitors’ entering 3 days already into the competition. (August 2013)
 4 members of the Bahraini team and 2 members of the Omani team were delayed entry for the AFC U19 Men’s Qualifiers: 1 of the Omani team members was refused due to a supposedly invalid passport, and though the 4 Bahraini permits were processed, they were delayed a few days due to the alleged absence of a typist to complete the permits (October 2013)
 Member of EDELGRASS subcontracting group delayed. Although Israeli documents claim the application was approved, the permit was passed forth to the Palestinian Civil Ministry, causing the entire official FIFA development mission to fail, as the permits of the other 4 inspectors expired. (November 2013)
HINDERING SHIPMENTS OF DONATED SPORTS EQUIPMENT:
For most other nations attempting to foster football, shipments of donated goods from FIFA and other football institutions are received in a timely fashion and without additional charges. This is not the case for football under Israeli Occupation, where shipments are either never cleared or intentionally delayed to such an extent that the additionally accrued costs are outside of the PFA’s pecuniary means, making it nearly impossible to retrieve the necessary football equipment.
EXAMPLES OF ISRAELI IMPEDIMENTS
 2008 shipment of Adidas goods destroyed
 2010 shipment of referee equipment blocked at Tel Aviv airport and has not been cleared to this date
 2010 UEFA shipment of youth equipment ‘mistakenly’ stored in a large bin, incurring storage costs of over 15,000 USD
POLITICAL INTERVENTION:
The Israeli Authorities have actively worked to dissuade foreign nations from sending their football delegations to Palestine. This gambit utilised by the Israeli authorities curtails Palestinian football by political means.
CASES OF ISRAELI INTERVENTION
 2009 hosting of Brazilian Flamengo and Corinthians teams cancelled due to ‘financial problems’ which Israelis indicated could only be solved if they agreed to a joint match with the Israelis
 2011 friendly match with Zambia cancelled: Zambian Football Association “advised by the Government not to proceed” after Israeli political pressure
 2011 friendly match with Gambia cancelled due to supposed “logistical constraints”
 2011 friendly match with Central African Republic cancelled: US interference on behalf of Israel aided in this cancellation

HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS:
Cases of human rights violations are rife within the context of Palestinian football—affecting men, women, and children. Characterised by the systemic violence with which the IDF seek to intervene in Palestinians’ attempts to foster football, the following cases illustrate the damages wrought by the Israeli forces.
SAMPLE CASES OF ISRAELI VIOLATIONS
 Mahmoud Kamel Mohammad Sarsak: incarcerated without a trial while en route from his native Gaza to the West Bank to meet his Markaz Balata football club. He was interrogated for 30 days and his family denied the opportunity to visit him. He remained in jail for 3 years, and commenced a hunger strike for 85 days that threatened his life.
 Omar Khaled Abu Rweis: the Olympic team goal keeper was abducted from his workplace at the Palestine Red Crescent by Israeli military forces who charged him with involvement in a terrorist cell and incarcerated him without further proof of such defaming charges
 Saadi Ibrahim Namir: Al-Amaari professional club player, arrested and denied a trial
 Basel Mahmud: coach of the Al-Isawiyah Club’s Women’s team was brutally attacked by the Israeli Army.
 Johar Nasser Aldeen Halabiyeh and Adam Halabiyeh: 19 year-old Abu Dis club player Johar and the 17 year-old Adam were attacked the night of 31 January 2014. Johar suffered from three bullet shots to the leg and foot and later brutally beaten by the IDF, whose dog nearly removed a chunk of his arm. The two were tried in the Military Court but released. The young men’s burgeoning football careers were ruined that night.
 Saje Darwish: The 18 year-old footballer was killed by a sniper on his way to a match 10 March 2014