Athletes demonstrate in Gaza to reject Israeli restrictions against them

Dozens of athletes demonstrated in Gaza City on Sunday, rejecting Israeli practices toward Palestinian sports, the latest of which prevented a local team in the Gaza Strip from going to the West Bank to play in the second leg of the Palestine Cup.

The participants in the demonstration organized by sports institutions active in Gaza, opposite the United Nations headquarters west of the city, waved banners denouncing Israeli actions against Palestinian sport and athletes.

"The demonstration is a message to the world that Palestinian sport continues to achieve its mission despite the Israeli arbitrary measures," said Ibrahim Abu Salim, vice president of the Palestinian Football Federation.

Abu Salim called for an international stand against "the continuous Israeli attacks against Palestinian sport and athletes", since sport carries a message of love and peace among the peoples of the world.

He expressed his hope that the International Football Federation (FIFA) will make efforts to stop Israeli practices against Palestinian sport.

Last week, Israel prevented the Rafah football team from the Gaza Strip from going to the West Bank, disrupting the final match of the Palestine Cup final against the Balata Youth Center team.

The occupation authorities prevented 31 people, including 35 members of the Palestinian Authority, from traveling to the West Bank through the Beit Hanoun / Erez checkpoint in the northern Gaza Strip.

The return leg was scheduled for Wednesday at the Nablus Municipal Stadium, forcing the Palestinian Football Federation to postpone indefinitely due to Israeli measures.

For his part, member of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports Abdel Salam Haniyeh said in a speech that the prevention of Israel's mission teams and athletes in various individual and group games "is a clear violation of all norms and international laws that provide for the movement of athletes without obstacles."

Haniyeh called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to stand up to its responsibilities to "restrain Israel's practices against Palestinian sports." He added that the Palestinian Football Federation is continuing its contacts to issue the necessary permits for the departure of the Rafah team.

The organizers gave a message to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, including Israeli impediments and measures against Palestinian sports and the movement of athletes and the need to end them.

The Palestinians have repeatedly accused the Israeli occupation authorities of deliberately restricting the movement of Palestinian athletes inside and outside the Palestinian territories and preventing the entry of Arab and international teams and clubs to play in the West Bank, while Israel has always justified its restrictions on considerations Security


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