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Britain denies under 19 Palestinian football team entrance into the UK

From the Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Many organisations spent weeks and months planning to host the Palestinian Under 19 football team in a 3 week visit to the UK in September. This visit is no longer going to take place as the British Consulate in Jerusalem has refused to grant visas to the entire team and coaches.

The British Government, in a decision apparently taken at a senior level, have refused entry visas to the entire team. Although they will not provide reasons in writing, they say the decision was taken because the economic situation in Gaza, where the majority of the team are based, is so bad that they do not believe that the Palestinians will return home again. They deny taking the decision for any politically motivated reason, although they did say at one point that it was because the Israelis would not allow them to return – and so would create a refugee issue, but they have since denied this.

The team posed no threat and the tour was intended to provide support to a team of boys and young men who would have no other opportunity to play in real football stadiums. Britain is now directly aiding Israel in punishing the Palestinians by denying them freedom of movement on no legitimate grounds.

The imprisonment of the Palestinian team in this way is a stark contrast to the welcome Israel’s national team is expected to receive in its qualifier against England on September 8th at Wembley. This unequal treatment of Israeli and Palestinian football teams must be challenged.

Action Alert:
Complain to the British consulate and representatives in your country.

1. Write to the FCO:
a. Demand to know the reason for the U19 teams visa refusals.
b. Request that the decision made be reversed.
FCO, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH
Tel: 020 7008 1500

2. Write to FIFA, UEFA, and the FA asking them to suspend Israel from international football until it abides by International law.
Write letters to FIFA ([email protected]), the FA ([email protected]) and UEFA ([email protected] and [email protected])

Complain to the British consulate and representatives in your country.

FURTHER ACTIONS

In the meantime we would like to ask you to take the following actions:

• Sign and circulate the petition calling on UEFA, the FA and FIFA to suspend Israel from international football until it abides by international law. The petition can be signed here: http://www.palestinecampaign.org/signatures.asp?PetitionID=4
You can also download a hard copy from the PSC website

• Write letters to FIFA ([email protected]), the FA ([email protected]) and UEFA ([email protected] and [email protected]) and to ‘Kick Racism out of Football’ ([email protected]) calling for the Israeli team, who represent a racist state to be suspended from international fixtures until it complies with international law. Please use the points below for you letters.

• Write to the national and local media, about this and explain why we are asking for the Israeli team to be suspended. Please consider intervening on radio and online forums to promote this campaign, as well as all sports media.

• Write to you local football clubs, fan clubs and club fanzines etc. to ask for
Here are some suggestions for letters:
“On September 8th, England is due to play Israel in a return UEFA Euro 2008 qualifier at the new Wembley Stadium. But there are good reasons why this match should not be happening.
Israel’s military occupation of Palestine prevents Palestinian footballers training and playing for international fixtures.

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 and Palestine failed to qualify.

In April last year, Israeli missiles destroyed the only stadium in Gaza, where 1.2 million Palestinians live.

Israeli forces regularly KILL young kids kicking a ball around with friends.

Israeli and Palestinian human rights organisations recorded these killings in one refugee camp near the Egyptian border:

Khalil al-Mughrabi (11) hit in the head by a burst of gunfire in July 2001. Two friends aged 10 and 12 were wounded.
Jihad Hassan Barhoum (16) shot in the abdomen in October 2004. A seven-year old was hit in the back.
Ashraf Samir Ahmad Mussa and Khaled Fuad Shaker Ghanam (both 15) and 16-year-old Hassan Ahmad Khalil Abu Zeid, shot dead in April 2005.
Israel has been illegally occupying Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights since 1967.

Palestinians and Israeli Jews who care about human rights have called for an international boycott of Israel until it pulls out all its troops and settlers and gives the land back to its true owners. Until this happens there will be endless conflict and no chance for Palestinians to enjoy the beautiful game in peace. Israel should not be in UEFA and the FA should not be hosting the September fixture.

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For a listing of all events on Palestine in the UK please visit www.palestinecampaign.org
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Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Box BM PSA
London
WC1N 3XX
Email: [email protected]ign.org
Tel: 020 7700 6192
Fax: 020 7609 7779
Web: www.palestinecampaign.org