Friday, July 09, 2021

  • Friday, July 09, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
The Beitar Jerusalem football club is scheduled to play a friendly match against Barcelona on August 4.

A lot of Palestinians are Barcelona fans, and they are upset. The main complaint is by Jibril Rajoub, president of the Palestinian Football Association and someone who has dedicated the past few years to using sports to attack Israel.

He wrote to the president of the Barcelona team:

I would have liked to send you happy news, but the fact that FC Barcelona - which enjoys the encouragement of millions of Palestinians - has unfortunately decided to disappoint millions of its fans by choosing to play the match against Beitar Club in East Jerusalem, to have a heavy impact on my heart and the heart of the millions who grew up respecting Barcelona for being more than just a club.

The Palestinian Football Association respects, as stipulated in the FIFA Statutes, your right as a club to hold friendly matches against any team of your choice.

However, this statute requires at the same time respect for the rights of other national associations. Jerusalem, according to international legitimacy, is a divided city, and its eastern part is considered occupied Palestinian land, and therefore subject to the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Football Association.
Teddy Stadium, where the match will be played, is in the part of Jerusalem controlled by Israel since 1948. 

You can see here that the stadium was built north of the 1949 armistice line. 



Rajoub is lying.

There are other objections to them match. Beitar is known for its racist, anti-Arab fans. However, in December, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan of the UAE royal family bought 50% of the club, so it seems like that argument against the match is not very effective any more. 

In 2018, before a similar friendly match between Argentina and Israel, Rajoub used a different argument altogether: that Teddy Stadium was built on the ruins of the Arab village of Mahla. As far as I can tell, the stadium was built on otherwise empty land in the early 1990s, near but not on top of Mahla, which was a strategic target in 1948 that hosted a Jordanian army contingent. 








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