PA to UEFA: Bar Israel from Hosting 2013 Championship (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Elad Benari 06/15/12)
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The Palestine Football Association (PFA) has asked UEFA to bar Israel
from hosting the 2013 European Under-21 Championship, AFP reported on
The reason for the request is what the PFA described as Israel’s
detention without trial of Palestinian Authority Arab players.
In a letter to UEFA President Michel Platini, PFA President Jibril
Rajoub expressed concern over the fate of three players: midfielder
Mahmud Sarsak, Olympic squad goalkeeper Omar Abu Rois and Ramallah
player Mohammed Nimr. All three were arrested on terror-related
“We are deeply concerned about the situation of our footballers,”
Rajoub wrote in the letter, a copy of which was seen by AFP on
"We ask your excellency not to give Israel the honor of hosting the
next UEFA U21 Championship in 2013,” he wrote.
Sarsak, 25, began refusing food in late March. He continued his
hunger strike even after the end of the mass hunger strike by
thousands of Arab prisoners. He is taking vitamins and sugar and
drinking milk, AFP reported.
“For athletes in Palestine, there is no real freedom of movement and
the risks of being detained or even killed are always looming before
their eyes,” Rajoub wrote, according to AFP.
The report added that on Tuesday, French football icon Eric Cantona
and nine other prominent figures sent a letter to Platini raising
concerns over the ongoing detention of Sarsak.
“We are all shocked at the racist chanting at football matches in
Poland and Ukraine where Euro 2012 is being played. Footballing
bodies and politicians have been outspoken in their condemnation,”
they wrote. “So why are these same groups silent when Israel is to
host the UEFA Under-21s competition in 2013?”
“It is time to end Israel´s impunity and to insist on the same
standards of equality, justice and respect for international law that
we demand of other states,” said the letter.
The PA Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, Isa Karake, announced earlier
this week that Arabs serving time in Israel for terror-related
offenses are planning a new hunger strike aimed at obtaining the
release of Sarsak and two other prisoners.
As part of a deal to end the last mass hunger strike, Israel made
some concessions to the PA, including an agreement to stop placing
prisoners in solitary confinement.
In addition, Israel agreed to allow prisoners to call relatives, to
pursue academic studies, and to allow prisoners from Gaza as well as
from Judea and Samaria to receive visits from family members.
The deal also included a release of the bodies of 91 terrorists to
the PA. The release of the bodies was s another in an ongoing series
of “gestures” by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the PA, in an
effort to encourage PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to agree to return to
negotiations with Israel.
So far, the PA has refused, although Abbas has accepted
Israel´s “gestures.” (IsraelNationalNews © 2012 06/15/12)
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