Middle EastWorld News

Israel must be held accountable for crimes against Palestinian athletes: Rights group

A Geneva-based rights group says the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) must hold Israel to account for its crimes against Palestinian athletes as the regime’s genocidal war on the besieged Gaza Strip drags on for the eighth month.

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement on Saturday that the IOC and FIFA must take “decisive action” against Israel as at least 270 Palestinian athletes have been killed and sports facilities damaged due to the continuing Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip since October last year.

Pointing to the Israeli regime’s ongoing genocide in the besieged Palestinian territory, the rights groups said the illegal entity is demolishing the sports infrastructure and converting some stadiums into mass graves, abuse centers and detention spots in blatant disregard of all regional, national, and international laws and conventions.

The Euro-Med said the Israeli occupation army deliberately turned the Yarmouk Stadium in Gaza City into a detention center to hold and humiliate hundreds of Palestinians, including children, as shown naked and stripped of their clothes in footage published by the Israeli media in December 2023.

“International sports organizations must firmly condemn Israel’s violations of civilian sports facilities and athletes in the Gaza Strip,” the statement underlined.

“Israel has long targeted Palestinian sports and continues to do so in an effort to silence Palestinian voices and representation and to eliminate all Palestinian elites and experts in the Gaza Strip.”

The rights group said 31 sports facilities, football fields, gyms, headquarters and sports training halls have been destroyed, accounting for over eighty percent of the stadium- and club-level sports facilities in the Gaza Strip.

The Euro-Med added that 300 five-a-side courts, 22 swimming pools, 12 covered sports halls for basketball, volleyball, handball and six tennis stadiums have been bulldozed and destroyed. Twenty-eight sports and fitness centers have also been damaged.

The rights group stressed in the statement that the Israeli aggression resulted in the cancellation of all sporting events, competitions, and activities while hundreds of Gaza Strip athletes were denied their right to travel and represent Palestine in different international competitions.

“The ongoing genocide in the Gaza Strip must be addressed by FIFA, whose fundamental laws and disciplinary and ethical rules specifically forbid support for actions that violate international law and human rights,” the Euro-Med said.

“Failure to consider the Gaza Strip genocide would raise serious questions of double standards in FIFA’s operations and policies.”

Palestine urges FIFA to suspend Israel over war on Gaza

Palestine urges FIFA to suspend Israel over war on Gaza

The Palestine Football Association (PFA) has urged the soccer

The world’s football governing body is scheduled to convene an extraordinary council meeting on July 20 to discuss whether to take action against the Israeli federation in response to the Palestinian Federation’s request to suspend the regime’s membership, which has the backing of the Asian Football Confederation.

During FIFA’s annual congress in Thailand on Friday, Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub stressed that Israel had committed multiple “systematic” violations of FIFA statutes as well as flagrant breaches of human rights in Gaza.

“The Palestinian people, including the Palestinian football family, are enduring an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe,” Rajoub said. “We are witnessing a live televised genocide happening in Gaza.”

Israel launched a devastating war on Gaza on October 7, 2023, after Palestinian resistance groups carried out Operation al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

The Tel Aviv regime has so far killed at least 35,386 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured over 79,366 others.

Related Articles

Back to top button