UK refuses entry to Palestine players

Just appalling.
The Palestine U-19 team that was supposed to tour England playing teams like Chester City and Blackburn Rovers have been refused visas on the eve of their visit. The official explanation is that the British foreign office was concerned that the players would seek asylum because of the horrible economic conditions prevailing in Gaza.
The unofficial explanation is that there is no guarantee that they would be let back into Gaza thanks to Israel’s policy of controlling the entry and exit to and from the Gaza strip, thus creating a refugee status.
More examples of how Israel continues to humiliate the Palestinians. In 2005, the Israelis prevented the Palestinians competing on the world stage by detaining players in Gaza during a world cup qualifier. They also prevented the entire team leaving Gaza for an Asian Cup qualifier against Singapore in 2006 and barred the team from re-entering Gaza for over a month after they competed in Jordan in June of this year.
We can do something about this. Go to www.windowintopalestine.blogspot.com and find out how you can help.
Write to the British consulate in Jerusalem at britain.jerusalem@fco.gov.uk and to visa@britishconsulate.org (Attn: Kamal Kalloub).
Write letters to FIFA (contact@fifa.org), the FA (info@thefa.com) and UEFA (media@uefa.ch and info@euro2008.com) protesting the favourable treatment of the Israeli national team who are to meet England at Wembley on Sept 8th.

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12 comments on “UK refuses entry to Palestine players
  1. BTW, Shourin, the stories in the UK press about this also point out that the excuses coming from the Foreign Office are worthless, as the Palestinian team have traveled elsewhere in Europe and those countries made arrangements for the players to get back into Gaza thru Egypt. Also, several of the players have been quoted as saying that it is unthinkable for them to desert Gaza, saying they “love Gaza” and they would never leave their home and families.

  2. Excellent one sided post on the most complicated political situation of the last century! Do us all a favor, stick to soccer and save your anti Israeli bias for your local coffee shop!

  3. Joe
    You should know better. Politics and soccer are inextricably linked. The Palestine soccer team wants to play soccer. Nothing more, nothing less. Surely, they deserve a chance.

  4. Surprising that you’ve only gotten one flame so far. Usually, anything even tangentially critical of Israel (whether right or wrong) is met with a deluge of angry posters who are mortified at the thought that someone doesn’t think Israel is a golden land of happiness, under siege by the ruthless, blood-thirsty, baby-eating ISLAMOFASCISTS!! ZOMG1!11!!

  5. SR,
    I don’t think Joe disagrees with the “let’s play soccer” part…its the “Palestinians are victims of bad, bad Israel” part.
    Which would you prefer, humilaition or being blown up in a cafe by a bomb full of nails. One is for Palestinians, one for Israelis.
    It takes willful ignorance to blame the current situation in Gaza solely on Israel. For example, why is it wrong for Israel to control entry points with a “nation” publicly committed to murdering its citizens?
    You are absolutely correct in that soccer (and all sports) and politics are linked AND the Palestinians should be allowed to play in England. We may even agree that its the people who always seem to suffer based on the decisions of their “leaders.”
    But in politics, reasonable minds can (and do) differ.

  6. and why does israel get to play in europe for WC purposes? they are in asia after all. korea must play mortal enemies japan. the us plays cuba. england v. germany. so why not force iran and israel to play qualifiers? these types of matches are great for competition and highlight political differences without guns.

  7. Great point, Kebmodee.
    In the 1998 World Cup Iran and the US played a group match and it was labeled as soccer diplomacy. Everyone who saw and commented about the match said it considerably eased tensions.

  8. @ kebmodee
    I think (not 100% sure) that Israel joined UEFA because some of their neighbors refused to play against them in AFC matches.
    Unfortunate for Israel, because they’d be much stronger in AFC than they are in UEFA.

  9. Look, I think it is perfectly reasonable to say, “why can’t Israel play Iran?”, but Iran has publicly stated its intention to wipe Israel off the map, so being a little cautious is reasonable. In addition, there was that nastiness at the ’72 Olympics. (Let me stress that I am not an apologist for Israel – the founding of Israel ironically involved terrorism by the Irgun and Israel’s history certainly contains justifiable cause for Palestinian grievance.)
    Korea/Japan is different. Historical enemies have reached an accord and maybe that will happen someday in the ME, but that is not the world we live in now. If it were up to the players, I am sure the match would be exciting and peaceful.
    The sad situation is that Palestinians are led by common criminals living well abroad (being paid by foreign powers) who do not give one *@&%^$ about the “people.” Israel is an insular society surrounded by enemies, real and perceived, who are routinely under genuine physical harm.
    Some perspective is in order…

  10. Tilam
    This is the Palestinian U19 team not the Hamas XI.
    In the past the Norwegian government (sometimes I think these guys are the only ones who are serious about world peace) has shepherded the Palestinian team back to Gaza giving the Israeli government assurances.
    Israel will do what it has done in the past. It is the British govt’s fault for caving in so abjectly.

  11. Actually, NO, that’s not what the president of Iran (who has very limited power) said, it’s what idiots in the WEST mistranslated him into saying. What he said has already been clarified by so many bloggers and journalists and academics but of course their clarifications are dismissed because people like you are have too much investment in hatred of Muslims and all Muslim countries which leads you to believe that OF COURSE all they dream about is killing Jews.

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