The Palestine football association regrets to announce the postponement of the Palestine Cup Final Match between Balata FC and Khadamat Rafah FC due yet another flagrant intervention by the Israeli occupation Authorities to deny Palestinians their basic right to play football.
Preparations for this final match of the Palestine Cup, which is one of Palestine’s two senior official competitions, have been finalized a few days ago, yet, the Israeli Occupation authorities are still denying entry permits to the Khadamat Rafah delegation under the convenient pretext of “Security reasons”.
Out of the 35 people on the Khadamat Rafah delegation list, only 4 were approved; the Club President, Vice President, one doctor, and one single player.
Two ‘extra’ administrators would be approved provided they agree to undergo interrogation at the Israeli‐controlled crossing between the southern and northern governors…
Even in a surrealistic world, it is hard to imagine how these four (or six) gentlemen will be able to play the match! As someone once said “‘A matter of national security’, the age old cry of the oppressor”. This quotation from the popular American Sci‐Fi franchise still rings true in the Palestinian situation. “Security reasons” continue to be so conveniently employed by the Israeli occupation to hinder the development of Palestinian football, and deprive Palestinians of their basic
rights guaranteed by the human rights charter, the Olympic charter, and the FIFA statutes.
The Palestine cup is the senior competition that brings the champion of the top men’s national league in the northern (west bank) and southern regions (Gaza) together, yet, Israeli restrictions make it almost impossible to hold the match every year.
This year, the occupation seems determined not to make the match happen at all. And while more football is being discussed as a “bridge for peace “ in some political workshops, convened in the absence of Palestinians, the foundations for these bridges are being torn down by the occupation.
The sad truth remains that, while more football pitches are promised, it remains questionable whether we can actually use these football‐pitches‐ to‐be with our footballers’ movement thus restricted, and while the equipment to build our football infrastructure continues to be held by the Israelis.
We call upon the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, and the six Football Confederations under its umbrella to help the Palestine Football Association safeguard its right to play football, and its obligation to organize National Competitions and participate in international competitions by taking effective measures to make sure football is played in Palestine without hindrance.