Michel Platinis’s stance means that UEFA are the equivalent to America in the sporting world in their support for Israel. Here are just some of the things Israel has done to inhibit Palestinian football ambitions.
- In September 2005, Palestine was in a good position in its Asian zone group in the qualifying rounds for the 2006 World Cup, but the Israeli authorities stopped five key players travelling outside Gaza and Palestine failed to qualify.
- In April 2006, Israeli missiles destroyed the stadium in Gaza, where 1.2 million Palestinians live. Israeli authorities admitted that the stadium was specifically targeted; this amounts to a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
- In 2007 the national team was prevented from travelling to play a World Cup Qualifier in Singapore and thus eliminated, and in May 2008 was not able to attend the AFC Challenge Cup, denying them qualification for the 2011 Asia Cup.
- During Israel’s war on Gaza 2008-2009, 1417 people were killed including many children. The UN has declared that Israel were guilty of serious breaches on international law and human rights. Much infrastructure was destroyed including the Palestinian national stadium and the Palestinian Football Association building. All plans for a new stadium have been stopped because of the continuing Israeli siege, which still prevents concrete from entering the Gaza Strip along with other sports equipment.
- In July 2009 having been given permission to enter the West Bank, one of the best Gazan players was arrested at a checkpoint and remains in an Israeli prison till this day.
- In August 2010 Israel refused to allow six members of the Palestinian national team to travel from Gaza to a match against Mauritania.
- A few months ago the football league winners of Gaza and West Bank had to postpone their cup final because the Gazan team was refused permission to travel.
- The national teams are unable to train and play as complete team as a result of travel restrictions.
- Olympic players and youth teams are frequently denied both exit and reentry when travelling from Gaza to the West Bank.
People who say sport and politics don’t mix rarely show even handedness. By their actions, Israel mixes the two up but then scream about other people using it to get at them. Footballers should show their support for no politics in the sport for this very reason. Israel are allowed to prohibit Palestinian sportsmen from competing internationally …And yet it’s ignored. I’m all for kicking racism out of not just sport but every aspect if life, so lets start with the racist Israel.