MEDIA RELEASE. 9 August 2016. This Media Release highlights the awful reality of village life in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
FIFA’s impressive 9 July 2016 video entitled “Football Unifies, Inspires In Palestine” reports opinions that football supports Palestinian identity and brings the nation together. Besides showing the national stadium and emphasising the progress made in women’s football it reveals an example of the extreme difficulties that village communities face in providing adequate football facilities for their youngsters. The observation that every ball that goes over the separating fences “does not come back” is a mild indicator of the effects of the Occupation of the West Bank by Israeli military forces.
Umm Al Khair and Susiya, in the South Hebron Hills are the two impoverished villages in the film. What is not shown is the current terrible suffering of families in those villages.
Yesterday the Israeli army demolished five homes of the Al Hathaleen family in Umm Al Khair, continuing the cycle of demolition-rebuild-demolition over eight recent years. Three of the demolished structures were funded by the European Union.
Susiya could soon see nearly half its houses demolished in the same way. Villagers have petitioned the Israeli authorities without success. Settlers have been documented harassing Palestinian residents, cutting down and stealing their crops and damaging property
These and other villages in the area have suffered repeated house demolitions, frequent violence from Israeli settlers, and are denied basic services like water and electricity. There seems little doubt that Israel would like to ethnically cleanse the South Hebron Hills – and other parts of Palestine – in order to make way for more settlers. Israel exploits the structure of planning laws from the 1940s to argue that the villages do not have permits to build since they do not have an accepted Plan.
FIFA is rightly proud of the work it does to support football development in Palestine. We call on FIFA to condemn the demolitions in Umm Al Khair, and to defend the right of Palestinians throughout the Occupied Territories to live lives free of criminal terror and deprivation.
We further call on FIFA to insist that the Israel Football Association bans illegal settler teams from its leagues and competitions, or face suspension from FIFA membership.
FIFA has enshrined the promotion of human rights at the heart of its Statutes. Will it now promote Palestinian human rights?
End of Media Release by Red Card Israeli Racism campaign.
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