This gem was published in Dagsavisens sports section, and reveals the staggering ignorance sports journalists who want to write a killer story (and in any case, it would make Dagsavisen look less like a Islamic Jihad mouthpiece if they restrained their most eager propagandists:
Israel under football pressure
PALESTINE: Next year Israel is organizing European Championships in soccer for U21. But Israel sabotages the Palestinian football and jails Palestinian players. Now they have eased some of the pressure.
Published: 20 July
Tor Kise Karlsen
Israel has a so-called “unlawful combatants Law,” which they believe gives them the right to do so.
In March Mahmoud Sarsak initiated a hunger strike, and at the end was near death.
Now he has finally been released. There are indications that the Israeli Football Association is under pressure from the International Football Association (FIFA) and the European Football Association (UEFA).
FIFA has put strong pressure on the Israeli Football Association to get them to resolve the matter. In a statement from FIFA stated the following:
“In a letter to the Israel Football Association (IFA), FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter expressed deep concern and fear of the illegal detention of Palestinian soccer players with no evidence.”
He also asks the Israeli Football Association to put pressure on Israeli authorities to release the Palestinian football prisoners. Now, Mahmoud Sarsak has been released.
Threatened with exclusion
A number of people have engaged themselves in the Sarsak case. Among others, Seville’s Freddy Kanoute and Manchester United legend Eric Cantona are involved.
Part of the UEFA’s value base is summed up in a 11 point program; paragraph 10 states:
“Racism and all forms of discrimination will not be accepted. UEFA will not tolerate the use of force either on the field or on the stands. Football must set an example. ”
Michel Platini said then that if Israel does not comply with the rules for membership in the UEFA, they will be excluded.
And behind his back he holds another big stick:
To deprive Israel of next year’s European Championship event.
Public opinion sways
Karen Espelund, former Secretary General of the Norwegian Football Association, is now a member of the UEFA’s Executive Committee.
– I have noticed that Sarsak now has been released, she said to the Times.
– But I don’t know how much pressure UEFA has applied. I don’t think you will get an answer to that from either the UEFA or Israel, she continued.
– But in sum we can say that football is attracting so much attention that it has a strong influence on society. I think this is what happened in this case, she said.
Palestinian football has a long tradition. The Palestinian Football Federation was formed in 1928 and admitted to FIFA the following year. When the Israeli state was created in 1948, the Israelis took over the league. A new Palestinian Football Association was founded in 1952 and was incorporated into FIFA in 1998 after the establishment of Palestinian autonomy.
The Palestinian Football Association is now a member of the Asian Football Federation, while Israel belongs to the European.
It is not just through incarceration of Palestinian football players that Israel disrupts the Palestinian football. “The Palestine Solidarity Campaign” has listed several examples.
In 2007, 2008 and 2011, the Palestinian national team was prevented from participating in the qualification for the World Cup.
In August 2010, six players from Gaza was refused travel visa to play a friendly against Mauritania.
In 2011, the Palestinian Cup final between a team from the West Bank and Gaza was canceled because Israel enforced a travel ban.
More examples could be mentioned. But now Mahmoud Sarsak has been set free. Maybe there is hope for the Palestinian football?
Oh dear… where to start…
Well how about this account from ynetnews, published on July 10, where more sober minded journalists managed to pen the not insignificant fact that Sarsak was received with pomp and gunshots by the Islamic Jihad crowd, who were very pleased to receive one of their own noble members.
As for Israel willfully disrupting Palestinian football… where is the mention of the possible, if not probable causes for this? Lets start with 2007 and work us through the facts until date… B’Tselem has provided 2.807 reasons for 2007 alone, why Israel might have wanted to enforce travel restrictions, while for 2008, there were 3.720 such reasons, not counting the senseless slaughter of young yeshiva students at Mercaz haRav, or the suicide bombing that claimed one life and injured 28. Terror attacks in Jerusalem and in Eilat in 2011 might also have explained why Israel preferred to safeguard their own civilians and, unfortunately, cause some disruption to Palestinian footballers. The UEFA itself could not, or would not comment on reports that Michel Platini should have told Palestinian football officials that Israel would be thrown out of the UEFA unless it played by the rules. If he did say so, I am sure a more experienced lawyer would have quickly pointed out the difficulties UEFA would have had bringing such a case to the fore, and while old Sep Blatter thinks he can run the world just because he is the leader of FIFA (how come he is still the leader, given all the scandals that have taken place under his “leadership”? FIFA in any case has a very dodgy reputation, so maybe they should just lower their heads and try to clean their own behinds first?), and is said to have put pressure on Platini. It would be very interesting then to hear how old Blatter would defend the fact that FIFA did nothing to defend Israel after it was kicked out of the Asian Football Confederation in 1974?
But where the journalist Tor Kise Karlsen really shows his formidable ignorance is regarding his claim that football has long roots in Palestine, citing as evidence that the Palestinian Football Association was formed in 1928, and accepted as FIFA member in 1929. It is doubtless that football has stirred the passion of men (mainly) for a very long time, and certainly so also under British Mandate Rule, But the journalist could have checked other sources than Wikipedia, because then he would have found out that the Palestine Football Association is identical with the Eretz Israel Association.
He might then have been saved from having loads of egg on his face, and also saved Dagsavisen from once more be a propaganda outlet for the BDS movement.