Thursday, December 08, 2005

Palestinian soccer players to be punished for heinous crime

This article is telling not only for how it shows that Palestinian Arabs have no interest in peace, but also in how Israelis do.

The situation hasn't changed for a hundred years and it will not change in the next hundred, without a significant change in the mindset of the Palestinian Arab leaders.

The naivete of the Peres Center is also interesting.

Sports and politics are two sides of the same coin.
The Palestinian FA plans to punish players under its jurisdiction for participating alongside Israelis in a 'Peace Match' in Barcelona, an official said on Wednesday.

A 'Peace Team' of Israeli and Palestinian players lost 2-1 to Barcelona at the Nou Camp last week in front of 31,820 spectators, including many dignitaries.

'The Palestinian FA will form a committee to investigate the players who participated in the match ... everyone involved will be punished,' senior FA official Jamal Zaqout told Reuters.

'We act in accordance with the attitude of our people who are against normalisation (of relations with Israel) before the end of the occupation,' Zaqout said, referring to Israel's hold over lands captured in the 1967 Middle East war. (And Reuters of course can read his mind that he was only referring to the '67 borders. - EoZ)

Fifteen Israelis, including many internationals and 12 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank joined up for the match sponsored by Israeli statesman Shimon Peres's Centre for Peace foundation.

A Peres Centre spokeswoman said the Palestinian FA's reaction was 'irresponsible and annoying'.

'The Peres Centre together with its Palestinian partner, the Abu Sukar Centre, received the blessing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and (his senior security adviser) Jibril Rajoub for the match,' spokeswoman Michal Eldar said.

'The match in Barcelona was an unprecedented event in which we managed to convey to the world the message of peace and cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians,' she said.

A spokesman for the Israel FA (IFA) said it had approved the participation of its players.

Israel's FA has been generally supportive of its Palestinian counterpart, which became a full FIFA member in 1998.

The IFA helped Palestinian players receive permits to leave Gaza for overseas matches when Israel controlled the coastal territory before pulling out last September.