UK 'hypocrisy' over Palestine soccer ban

21 August 2007 - 11:00am
Press release

The decision to ban the team from entering Britain, apparently taken at a high level within the UK government, comes days before the Palestinian under-19 team was due to arrive in England, with games against teams including Chester City, Tranmere Rovers and Blackburn. According to War on Want, the refusal stands in marked contrast to the welcome given the Israeli national team, due to play England at Wembley in a Euro 2008 qualifier on 8 September. This is despite calls for that match to be cancelled in protest at continuing Israeli assaults on Palestinian towns, including the bombing of the national football stadium.

Last year Israeli armed forces killed around 650 Palestinians, mainly unarmed civilians and among them 130 children. In the same period Palestinian armed groups killed 23 Israelis, including one child. Louise Richards, Chief Executive of War on Want, said: "It is disgraceful that the British government has refused visas to the Palestinian football team on the eve of its tour. The Israeli football team will be welcomed to Wembley to play England in the forthcoming Euro 2008 qualifier, despite the Israeli military's continuing violation of Palestinian rights. This is another sign of the hypocrisy of the British government in its treatment of the Palestinians, and underlines the urgent need for Gordon Brown to adopt a fresh approach to the conflict."

 


CONTACT John Hilary, War on Want campaigns and policy director - (+44) (0)7983 550727

NOTE TO EDITORS A charity ball to raise funds for the organisation CAPE (Chester and Palestine Exchanges), which organised the tour, will still take place on 1 September at Chester town hall, with Alexei Sayle as special guest. The ball will include an auction of items, including a football signed by Manchester United. Tickets, price ?35, are available on 01244 340005.

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