Susan Shalabi Molano blogs on Gaza’s sporting losses

Susan Shalabi Molano blogs on Gaza’s sporting losses

Unbeknown to RCIR, PFA Vice-President Susan Shalabi Molano resumed her invaluable blog – Israeli Occupation Transgressions against Palestinian Sports at http://xssportpal.blogspot.com/ – earlier this summer. We reproduce her recent posts below – beginning with a moving statement of principle followed by three reports on fatalities and other sporting losses caused by Israel’s assault on Gaza in May.

2021 – Moving beyond the chains of “Chapters”

Ever since 2014, I had used numerical values to catalog the Israeli occupation transgressions against Palestinian sports, putting them in chapters and sections. I have found out, as the number of chapters and their sub-chapters grew that -if I continued with the same approach- there wouldn’t be enough “chapters” to cover the truth of the injustice that Palestinian sports endure on a daily basis; I would simply lose track, and the stark-simple stories of so many injustices will not be mentioned. Sadly, the occupation will not be over soon; the international sport governing bodies will continue to sympathize -and perhaps some will even condemn the brutality of the occupation- but I don’t see them finding solutions that protect our sports and enable them to develop freely any time soon.

It has been years since I last wrote. I cannot of course claim that I have recorded everything. I simply do not have the resources. I only hope I was able to give a representative glimpse of the impossible hardships faced by Palestinian sports; of people’s lives that have been lost, sport structures that were destroyed, and dreams that were buried too soon.

Re-starting with this year, 2021, I will post events separately, and let them tell their own stories. I won’t even have a report in this current post I’m writing. Its purpose will be to mark a transition from a way of blogging that employed the chronicling of successive events in a timeline, to one that relays the facts as they happen, and leaves the interpretation to you.

FC Balata youth Sa’id Yousef Odeh killed by Israeli soldiers during a raid on Udlah

Sa’id Yousef Odeh, the 16 years old player of Balata FC youth team never had the chance to carry on with his team beyond round 8 of the Tokyo football tournament; The youth was killed by an Israeli occupation soldier during an incursion of his home village of Udlah, near Huwarrah.

The incident took place on Wednesday,   May 5,  2021. Sa’id, who had worn the number 22 in the match his team Balata played against the Hilal of Jericho, was accompanied by his friend, Munther Abdelrahim, when Israeli army forces raided the village in search of  Muntasir Shalabi, a Palestinian shooter who shot three Israeli settlers on the checkpoint of Za’atara on the previous Sunday, and withdrew from the scene in his private vehicle. As clashes broke out in the village after the Taraweeh prayers, Sa’id was fatally shot in the chest by the soldiers who were randomly shooting live bullets during their raid.

According to Munther Abdelrahim, and local activist Mahmoud Edeily, Munther tried to pull Sa’id away to safety, but the soldiers shot him and then caught up with both boys, detaining them where they fell.

Palestinian Red Crescent medic, Fayez Abdeljabbar, said the soldiers prevented the medics from reaching the two boys, leaving Sa’id to bleed to death when he clearly posed no danger to them. Abdeljabbar later realized that one of the two boys was his nephew, and only did so after the soldiers allowed the medics to reach the scene 15 minutes later.

Though Munther was severely injured in the back, the medic was able to stabilize his condition. Sa’id had already lost all vital signs when his uncle realized who he was.

Sportmen killed or injured during the Israeli Air raids on Gaza, May 2021

Palestinian sports lost the following sportsmen during the recent airstrikes on Gaza. The Israeli official statement is that these airstrikes were a response to the launching of rockets by Hamas and other factions on Israeli cities. It fails to mention that Airstrikes do not discriminate, they kill wherever and whenever they fall.

Mohammad Sulaiman Abu Al-Ata, the 16-year-old player of Al-Namaa FC was killed during a raid of Jabalia on May 12, 2021.

Muath Al-Za’anin, the 23-year old player of  Beit Hanoun 1st division FC was killed during the airstrikes on Beit Hanoun on 16 May, 2021.

Adam Al-Fara’awi , player of Al-Shams Taekwondo club.

Osama Al-Zebdeh, former player of Al-Mashtal FC.

Wael Eisa Vice President of Al-Breij FC.

Referee Sa’id Abdelwahab was severely injured in the spine in the airstrike of 15 May on Gaza.

The damage caused to the Palestine Football Association’s Head Quarters in Beit Lahia-Gaza

The PFA HQ in Beit Lahia/Gaza had suffered extensive damage back in the Israeli occupation’s airstrikes of 2014. This year, it was rendered a safety hazard, and can no longer be used as Head Quarters. The visual content below will give a better view of the extent of damage:

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