Israeli Police Break Up Palestinian family Soccer Tournament in Jerusalem’s Old City

Israeli Police Break Up Palestinian family Soccer Tournament in Jerusalem’s Old City

The image shows a closed field in Silwan in June 2016, following the Court decision in August 2015

Haaretz reports:

“The police broke up a soccer tournament among families in Jerusalem’s Old City at the order of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, claiming that the event was linked to the Palestinian Authority. 

The tournament, in which families compete against each other, is a popular initiative that has been held for several years running. There are 183 families competing, each of which puts together a team of young people. Some of the families invest large sums of money on training and uniforms for the event.

On Sunday afternoon, as the players and the audience gathered for the opening of the competition, police officers arrived and ordered the crowd to disperse, confiscated posters and other equipment. The police carried an order signed by Erdan, which stated, “The event will be held on behalf of and/or is sponsored and funded by the Palestinian Authority.”

The PA is forbidden to conduct any activities in East Jerusalem under the Oslo Accords and under the law for implementing the accords. For many years, public security ministers have periodically dispersed cultural and other events in the capital out of concern that they were connected to the PA. But it seems that during the past few months this phenomenon has intensified. A few months ago an event to mark the 50th anniversary of Al-Makassed Hospital was broken up, and last Saturday an event held by the Palestinian Bar Association was halted. Events interrupted in the past have included press conferences, book launches and even a children’s festival.

The Burj al-Luqluq Society, which organizes the soccer tournament, says it has no connection to the PA and does not get any funding from it. According to the group, the money for the tournament was donated by Palestinian businessman Munir al-Kaloti.

“This is a social activity for the benefit of the Old City residents; it’s no shame to hold such activities, especially when the municipality doesn’t promote activities for East Jerusalem residents,” said attorney Mohannad Gbara, who represents the society. “I think that pretty soon Minister Erdan will forbid the sale of Jerusalem sesame pretzels because they have Palestinian markings; they’ll issue closure orders against the pretzel wagons.” Gbara plans to petition the High Court of Justice against the decision.”

The final paragraphs of the Haaretz report give the standard Israeli line. The full report is given at:–1.7723398

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