This letter was sent to FIFA, and subsequently published in the Morning Star on Friday 12 April 2016, in order to highlight the realities of life in the OPT which were only hinted at in the FIFA video “Football inspires – unites in Palestine”.
Red Card Israeli Racism Campaign
PO Box BM PSA, London WC1N 3XX
President Gianni Infantino,
Fédération Internationale de Football Association,
P.O. Box 8044 Zurich, Switzerland.
10 August 2016
Dear President Infantino,
FIFA has enshrined the promotion of human rights at the heart of its Statutes. Will it now promote Palestinian human rights?
Your organisation is rightly proud of the work it does to support football development in Palestine. A recent FIFA video highlights the positive role played by football in the impoverished communities of Umm Al Khair and Susiya in the South Hebron Hills.
But there is a reason these communities are impoverished – the Israeli Occupation.
Yesterday the Israeli army demolished five family homes in Umm Al Khair, and Susiya could soon see nearly half its houses demolished in the same way. 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.
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 terror and deprivation.
We further call on FIFA to insist that the Israel Football Association bans illegal settler teams from its leagues and competitions, on pain of suspension from FIFA membership.
We trust in your swift response.