Israel blocks Gaza football team from competing in West Bank

This ban highlights the daily difficulties Gazans face under an Israeli blockade which has been in place since 2006

Israeli occupation has denied travel permits to players on Gazan football team which had hoped to play a local championship final against a rival Palestinian club in West Bank.

Khadamat Rafah is set to play Balata FC in the West Bank on Wednesday. But without the hard-to-obtain Israeli travel permits, the game is unlikely to take place as scheduled.

“We think that this is clear evidence that this Israeli occupation is cruel but from our side we keep raising it at all the levels of FIFA.

“We insist that this is our right and we will continue exerting every effort to allow this team to do this match,” the head of the Palestinian Football Association, Jibril Rajoub, said.

The football team’s predicament highlights the daily difficulties Gazans face under an Israeli blockade, imposed after the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas won free elections in 2006.

Israel has greatly restricted movement of Gazans and requires travellers such as students and medical patients to obtain permits to leave, which are increasingly harder to come by and are withheld arbitrarily.

Rajoub said his association has long lobbied FIFA to sanction Israel for its measures to restrict the movement of Palestinian players. He slammed the withholding of permits and pledged to hold the game.

Under the Palestinian Football Association’s terms, the winners of the Gaza league play the West Bank champions in a two-leg final, one in the Gaza Strip and one in the West Bank.

The Gaza game took place earlier this year and this week’s game, which had already been delayed for two months over access to permits, was to take place near the West Bank city of Nablus.

The winner of the final game goes on to compete in the Asian Champions League.

Gisha, an Israeli rights group that had challenged the move in court, criticised Israel’s permit system.

(Source / 24.09.2019)

IOA Deprives Jordanian Detainee Of Family Visits

The Israeli occupation authorities have been denying Jordanian detainee Hiba al-Labadi of family visits since her arrest at the Karame crossing over a month ago.

Labadi’s family said in a statement on Tuesday that they have not been able to visit their daughter since her arrest on 20/8/2019 while crossing from Jordan into the occupied West Bank to attend a wedding ceremony of a relative in Yabad village, Jenin province.

They said in a press release that she has been held since then in Petah Tikva detention center and subjected to “cruel interrogation”.

They added that the Israeli interrogators failed to press any charges against Labadi, 30, which made them seek an administrative detention order against her that is to be announced within the coming 72 hours.

The family called on human rights groups to intervene and pressure the IOA into releasing their daughter and allowing them to visit her.

(Source / 24.09.2019)

Israel To Close Gaza, West Bank Crossings Next Week

The Israeli occupation authorities have announced that the Gaza Strip and West Bank crossings will be closed for several days starting Sunday, 29 September, over Jewish holidays.

The General Administration of Crossings and Borders said in press statements that Karam Abu Salem crossing, southeast of the Gaza Strip, will be closed for three days starting next Sunday, and work will be resumed at the border crossing on Wednesday, 2 October.

Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, north of the Gaza Strip, will also be closed during the same period. Palestinian individuals will not be able to pass through the crossing unless they have emergency cases.

As for al-Karama crossing between Jordan and the West Bank, the crossing will be opened for certain hours only during the three-day holiday. On Sunday it will remain open until 10:30 am, while on Monday and Tuesday it will be closed at 5:00 pm.

(Source / 24.09.2019)