Kick Apartheid Israel out of Football is the message that campaigners in the UK want to send to football fans around the world ahead of Englandâs Euro 2008 qualifying clash with Israel in September.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is asking supporters to sign a petition on their website demanding that the English FA, UEFA and FIFA ban Israel from all international football fixtures until âthe state of Israel entirely complies with International Law and relevant United Nations resolutions to end Israeli occupation.â So far the petition has 592 signatories.
Israeli occupation and apartheid is systematically making all expressions of Palestinian life almost impossible. Sport is no exception. It very difficult for the Palestinian national football team (and other sports teams) to take part in international competitions, preventing players from leaving the West Bank and Gaza and travel restrictions making training difficult. The team is unable to hold any home fixtures on Palestinian soil and no proper training facilities exist in the West Bank and Gaza. Despite all these obstacles, Palestinians are proud of their national team and sought to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, narrowly losing out in the Asian Group stages.
Palestinian children have been murdered by the Israeli army whilst playing football and the Apartheid Wall, checkpoints and terminals have made it difficult for domestic games to take place and Palestinian children and adults to access sports facilities.
The campaign is part of the wider call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Apartheid Israel. It follows in the footsteps of the successful sports boycott against Apartheid South Africa. As well as condemning Israelâs oppression of Palestinian football the petition also seeks to highlight the daily crimes committed by the illegal occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, the plight of Palestinians living with Israeli citizenship, and those who became refuges in 1948,
The PSCâs petition has a successful precedent in an appeal published on petitiononline website which was signed by over 10, 000 in a short time, showing that the consensus amongst the public is Fair Play for Palestine.
To sign the petition go to: www.palestinecampaign.org/sign.asp?PetitionID=4