Israel permits Gazan soccer team to play in Hebron
search

Israel permits Gazan soccer team to play in Hebron

After being held up at border over security concerns, players allowed to cross for postponed leg of Palestine Cup

Ahli al-Khalil defeats Shabab Khan Younis 1-0 in Gaza in the first leg of the Palestine Cup 2016 (Screen capture: Youtube)
Ahli al-Khalil defeats Shabab Khan Younis 1-0 in Gaza in the first leg of the Palestine Cup 2016 (Screen capture: Youtube)

Members of a Gazan soccer team received entry permits to Israel Monday, allowing their team to play in the second leg of the Palestine Cup.

The final game of the tournament between Gaza’s Shabab Khan Younis and Hebron-based squad Ahli Al-Khaleel was to have been played last Saturday.

However, Israel’s Shin Bet initially refused to allow six members of the Gazan team, along with two of the support staff, to cross the border. Ten players plus additional staff were permitted through, but they were detained for 12 hours at the border, according to media reports.

The rescheduled game will be played on Tuesday night in Hebron. Ahli Al-Khaleel carries a 1-0 lead after the first match. The Palestine Cup pits the winners of the West Bank Premier League and the Gaza Strip League. The winners qualify for the AFC Asian Cup.

On Sunday, the head of the Palestinian Football Association, Jibril Rajoub, submitted a complaint about the incident to the international soccer governing body, FIFA.

Before letting them through, the Shin Bet said the team members were barred due to “severe negative security background.” Israel has maintained a blockade on Gaza since the Islamic terror group Hamas took over in a violent coup in 2007.

At the beginning of July FIFA sent a special committee headed by Tokyo Sexwale to Israel and the Palestinian territories to examine ways of improving soccer links between Israelis and Palestinians.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments