On May 21, 2015, Israeli Forces delayed the Palestinian National Football Team at the Allenby/Al Karamah Crossing, the only international border for Palestinians living in the Occupied West Bank. The national team was on its route to Tunisia as part of their preparation for its upcoming official matches.
This new Israeli violation occurred less than 24 hours after Mr. Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, left Israel and Palestine, having received a commitment from Israeli PM Mr. Netanyahu about facilitating the travel of Palestinian athletes. The Israeli Football Association, as usual when Palestinian athletes are harassed by Israeli Forces, haven’t issued any condemnation.
Below is the letter sent by the head of the Palestine Football Association Gen. Jibril Rajoub to FIFA President Mr. Sepp Blatter on this new Israeli violation against Palestinian sports.
Mr. Joseph Blatter
Fédération Internationale de Football Association
Subject: VIP escort for Palestinian Footballers on the border
I hope you had the time to rest after your trip to our region and the busy schedule of meetings with both the Palestinian and Israeli sides.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Israeli Government’s promise to facilitate the movement of our players is having its first test as I am writing this letter. Our National team, which is heading for Tunisia for a training camp, has been delayed at the Allenby crossing point by the Israeli authorities.
Player Sameh Maraabah has been detained by the Israeli authorities for two hours now, and the team has decided it will not leave without him.
The implications of this incident can only confirm the PFA’s position on the promises given by the Israeli Government; that they are only words unless they are included in solution that can only come through, and be guaranteed by the FIFA congress.
Palestine Football Association