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Palestine protests Israeli attacks on athletes

Following the shooting of two athletes by Israeli soldiers, the Palestinian Football Federation is calling for the boycott of Israeli athletes

Published: Updated:

Jibril Rajoub, president of the Palestinian Football Federation, called for a boycott against Israeli athletes at the international level on Wednesday, in protest against recent attacks by Israeli soldiers against Palestinian sportsmen.

The boycott appeal followed the shooting of two Palestinian athletes last week who were reportedly shot in the legs by Israel soldiers at al-Zaayyem checkpoint near Abu Dis in Jerusalem as they walked home from their sports club. Police dogs were also reportedly unleashed on the Palestinian athletes.

Doctors have since confirmed the pair is unlikely to be able to play sports again due to the severity of their injuries.

“The occupation has now deprived us from our talent. I won’t be able to continue my career or fulfill my dreams and what I have strived for in order to be enrolled in the Palestinian national team and represent Abu Dis. I had many aspirations and ambitions,” Jawhar Jawhar told Al Arabiya News.

Players of the Palestinian League told Al Arabiya that playing football is now associated with fear, as fair treatment and even basic safety is not guaranteed.

Palestinian club members have difficulty moving between the West Bank cities to train and compete in the football league because they are forced to stop for long periods of time at Israeli checkpoints. The players and the technical crew are sometimes detained or exposed to unleashed police dogs and shootings.

Sports league president Rajoub also stated that the FIFA President, Joseph Blatter, will visit the Palestinian territories and Israel in April to discuss this issue.