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Why one Jerusalem street has seen so many stabbings

For Israel and settler organizations, creating a Jewish identity and presence on the access road to the Western Wall is crucial. Palestinians, on the other hand, view it as a dangerous provocation.

By Yonathan Mizrachi

The many stabbings in Jerusalem’s Old City in recent weeks have taken place in one precise location: Ha-Gai Street, or Al-Wad Street in Arabic. While the walled city is relatively small, it is interesting to note why the political and violent struggle over Jerusalem focalizes on its most heavily guarded street.

Damascus Gate is located on the Old City’s northern wall, and is the main entryway used by Palestinians. Shortly after one passes through it, the street splits into two directions: Khan al-Zeit turns slightly to the west and continues toward the Jewish Quarter, while Al-Wad Street continues eastward down to the Western Wall plaza.

Damascus Gate and the two streets leading from it were built by the Romans in the 2nd Century, and have since become the central axes in the city. Khan al-Zeit Street intersects with David Street — which begins at the Jaffa Gate and continues east — at which point the two become Street of the Chain. Both Street of the Chain and David Street are also based on Roman-era urban planning, when the city was named Aelia Capitolina, and today they make up the central alleys of the tourist market.

On the other hand, Al-Wad Street leads to the Western Wall, and is also the central axis for Muslim worshipers who enter from Damascus to reach Al-Aqsa Mosque. Along the street there are a number of alleyways leading to the gates of the Dome of the Rock. The eastern and southern gates of the compound have been blocked for centuries; the seven gates that are open to the public are located on Al-Wad or on Via Dolorosa, which branches off from it. In contrast to the market streets, Al-Wad is the main artery for worshipers of all religions, and many who walk on it are on the way to prayer or are religious.

Al-Wad Street is also where the Ateret Cohanim organization began its plan to Judaize the Muslim Quarter. In the 1980s Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva was established at the crossroads of al-Wad and Via Dolorosa. A few years later, Ariel Sharon purchased a house in the Muslim Quarter, which is located on al-Wad. Ateret Cohanim owns several apartments along the...

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New video shows accused stabber posed no threat when shot

The Israeli media claimed that Fadi Alloun, who stabbed a 15-year-old in Jerusalem, was shot and killed while being chased as he was holding a knife. A new video reveals that he could have been subdued, and did not pose a threat.

By *John Brown

Last Saturday an Israeli policeman shot and killed Fadi Alloun, a 19-year-old resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, after he was suspected of stabbing a 15-year-old Israeli near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate.

A video that went viral following the incident shows young Jewish Israelis egging on the policemen to kill Alloun, despite the fact that it is unclear from the video whether he posed a threat when an officer shot him numerous times. The Israeli media reported that he was shot while “trying to escape from the security forces that began chasing him. After refusing to release his grip on the knife, the forces shot and killed him.”

It was clear that that first part was a lie from the get go: Alloun never tried to escape. However, a new video that captures the scene from a different angle shows that Alloun wasn’t holding a knife when he was shot, and therefore did not pose a threat. Moreover, this was the reason an officer who stood near the person filming the incident chose not to shoot Alloun. He chose neither to shoot nor use his weapon as threat as Alloun walked by him. He didn’t shoot when the teenagers nearby yelled “Shoot him, bitch!” or “Pepper spray? What kind of policemen are you?” while warning Alloun that he was “about to die.” When it was all over, the police officer who refused to shoot Alloun became the target of verbal abuse by those same teenagers.

And while this particular policeman acted appropriately, additional officers who arrived on the scene chose to act differentkly. Seconds after they exit their vehicles, one of the teenagers — who would later celebrate Alloun’s killing by shouting “death to Arabs” — tells the officers that Alloun had just stabbed someone and that they should shoot without any attempt to subdue him. The officers did not even yell at Alloun to throw down the knife — that’s because there was no knife and Alloun posed no threat. They did not even yell at him to give up or to let him know...

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They weren’t born to be martyrs, they were born to live

Fifteen years after Israeli police murdered 13 unarmed Palestinian citizens of Israel, the sister of one of those young men asks whether the dominant national symbolism of martyrdom must trump the humanitarian aims and face of Palestinian liberation.

By Siwar Hasan-Aslih

If you ask Palestinians who lived through the the events of October 2000 what exactly happened and why, you would probably hear a range of answers reflecting a number of worldviews. Some might point to the martyrdom of Muhammad al Dura, others to Ariel Sharon’s violation of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The first reflects a human — or humanitarian — perspective while the other points to religious and spiritual factors. Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that the events of October 2000 carried diverse messages for Palestinian society and came in varied shapes, whether in the goals of the Palestinian resistance, or the symbolism of the struggle.

Sharon’s visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque — surrounded by hundreds of Israeli police officers — at the end of September 2000 national rage on the Palestinians street from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank, and also reached Palestinians inside Israel. That rage, of course, was rooted in the occupation, racial discrimination and the failure of Oslo peace process. Despite all those other factors, however, it was the call to protect holy sites that pushed the mass demonstrations to start.

As a result, it was named the “Jerusalem Ignition” and later assigned religious character. But it was not only religious, Al-Aqsa and Al-Quds (Jerusalem) also reflect symbols in the discourse of Palestinian resistance.

Palestinians, like most societies, use symbols to help one understand one’s meaning in relation to the world and the one’s attachment to his or her culture. Symbols also have functional roles. They are tools of communication and help create collective identity, enabling the formation of society.

The Palestinian national experience has many symbols that are drawn from our reality of occupation, symbols that enable Palestinians to express their feelings and values of resistance. One of the most dominant symbols of October 2000 was the martyr. In the Palestinian context, a martyr refers to somebody who dies or sacrifices his life for the cause of liberty and justice for the Palestinian people, including both those who are murdered by the occupation and those who die fighting it.

The societal rituals and mythology surrounding martyrdom create...

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October 2000: How to get Israelis to empathize with Arabs

A former editor of Israel’s flagship weekend television news program reflects on the challenge of presenting the October 2000 events — when Israeli police killed 13 unarmed Arab protesters — in a way Jewish Israelis might empathize with the pain of the country’s Palestinian population.

By Anat Saragusti

It was an intense meeting in a small room on the second floor of Channel 2 news in Tel Aviv. We tried to come up with the perfect mix of views to make Israeli Jews make sense of what would eventually come to be known as the “events of October 2000.” Back then I was an editor on Ulpan Shishi, which was and remains the channel’s flagship weekend news broadcast. It is a show that summarizes the events of the past week, and provides enough time to tell a story, analyze it, bring in interviewees, and go beyond.

Historically, the High Holiday month is considered fairly quiet when it comes to news. The summers are usually dead, and the Jewish holidays do not fare much better. That is why in the short period between the end of summer vacation and Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year), news outlets go into hyperactive mode and prepare dozens of filler items for their holiday supplements.

But none of these harmless, personal interest stories were printed in Octover 2000. And it wasn’t the news that died, but rather 13 Arab citizens, one Jewish citizen, and a Druze Israeli soldier.

These were the pre-social media days, before Facebook and smartphones took over our lives and the way we consume news. The media was based on regular cellphones and pagers.

Even the internet was not, how should I put it, too sophisticated 15 years ago, such that the flow of news dependent entirely on the reporter’s ability to provide accurate, honest, fact-checked, and thorough information to the news desk. This was especially true on holidays when the desks functioned at lower capacity.

This is what was happening as we were thrust into the events of October 2000. No one expected the tsunami that hit nearly every corner of the country.

News studios were forced to go into emergency mode, complete never-ending live broadcasts. But the expectation was that Ulpan Shishi would, at least after the first wave, come away with some kind of summary. Some insight.

We expect television to bring us a bit of depth alongside the hard...

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What we really need now? A politics of love

Fear and pain flow in the streets, between Gaza and Sderot, between Hebron and Jerusalem, forcing us to think about providing enough compassion for one another so we can come to solutions to the violence.

By Mijal Simonet Corech

Once, Israeli academic Yael Berda and I came up with an expression: “politics of love.” We never really got down it to its basics — we never needed to; somehow we both knew what we meant. According to this kind of politics, first and foremost, you feel sad when you hear that a man and a woman — parents of four children — were shot to death. You feel it in your body, and your feet have a hard time walking. And you cannot help but think about that four-month old girl who will never know her mother. Even if her mother made choices that I would not make, ones that I believe make other peoples’ lives difficult and prevent them from living a life of dignity — even then the politics of love mourn her.

Through the politics of love one can look at the 19-year-old who stabbed two people to death in Jerusalem’s Old City on Saturday night and see a child. A child who was so deeply hurt and humiliated by something — even if the entire world won’t understand (or doesn’t want to understand) how the holiness of a place, of the Noble Sanctuary, of a stone, can even hurt — that turned him into a murderer, and turned his mother into a bereaved parent.

And all the politics of love would see was the river of pain that flows between our fingers, between all those murdered, washing over our streets, between Gaza and Sderot, and think about how to provide enough compassion for one another so that we find solutions.

Looking back over these, I know that the politics of love can sound naive. After all, we are at war. All the time, everywhere, on every corner, with one another: Jews with Arabs, secular with religious, Ashkenazim with Mizrahim, and let’s not even start talking about women who must rescue themselves from men. After all, how will I implement a politics of love when it comes to arms dealers or the people who run this country?

There is no doubt that a politics of love is the most difficult kind. But even today I see...

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Motorcycle diaries: A brief moment of humanity with an Israeli policeman

He had no idea Palestinians couldn’t import high quality motorcycles. I had no idea Israeli policemen could be so friendly. How one motorcycle brought us together during a traffic stop in the middle of the West Bank.

By Bassam Almohor

Israeli police stop — Thursday, September 24, 2015.

An Israeli policeman standing at the entrance to Ofra settlement, just east of Ramallah, motions for me to park on the side go the road. He walks slowly with his M-4 rifle, inspecting the license plate on my motorcycle, then pats my shoulder: “With all due respect, this is great; you wear your helmet, your gloves, your jacket.. this is perfect.”

- So this is a new motorcycle?

- Yes.

- And you just take it everywhere?

- Everywhere in the West Bank.

- Oh nice, I am a biker too, you know. I have a big bike, a Honda CB 900, here take a look (he takes out his smartphone, and scrolls through photos of his bike.) Take a look, it’s all shiny and big.

- Very nice, is this your girlfriend riding on the back?

- No, this is my wife.

- Lovely. My wife doesn’t like to ride with me. Only my son.

- You take your son, wow.

- Yes, but only short distances in the city.

- But why don’t you get a big bike, this is only 250cc?

- Well, we can’t. The Palestinian importer is only allowed to bring in this bike.

- What? You mean you can’t get bigger one?

- No, and I can’t buy these from Israel either.

- But I see big motorcycles. The other day I stopped two Palestinians riding 600cc Hondas.

- Yes, perhaps they are the only ones.

- Too bad.

- Well, actually for the West Bank, and with the limited area we are allowed, 250cc is not that bad.

- Yes, that’s true. I have this 900 and there’s not much road out there. I live in Ariel, do you know it?

- Yes, of course I know it. I actually drove past it yesterday.

- I take my bike and drive those roads. I take my friends and they all love it, especially the hilly countryside — it’s great.

- Yes, Palestine is beautiful.

- I love riding here you know. So where are you coming from now?

- Well, I started at 6 a.m.,...

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What Abbas should have told the United Nations

What if the Abbas had announced this was his last UN speech as Israel’s security contractor? A reimagined version of the speech that wasn’t. (Read or watch Abbas’s actual speech.)

By Rida Abu Rass

H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the General Assembly,
H.E. Mr Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations,
Excellencies, heads of delegations,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I come before you today from Palestine to sound the alarm about what is happening in Jerusalem, about what is happening in the West Bank and Gaza and about what is happening in Israel. I come before you to sound the alarm about what has been happening to Palestinians for 67 years, in our own homeland.

We are often accused of refusing. Of refusing to negotiate, of refusing to settle, of refusing to compromise. In 1948, we were a naive, agrarian, developing people. 100 years after the spring of nations — that glorified winter of failed revolutions that gave rise to nationalism in Europe — we still knew nothing of nationalism and self determination. In 1948, when the Jewish people declared the establishment of the state of Israel in Mandatory Palestine, partition was out of the question for us. In the eyes of our forefathers, there was not a single doubt that this land belonged to us, for we have been living in it and nourishing it for longer than we can remember. We had no other land.

But we no longer refuse. For over 20 years, we have done nothing but reach out our hands for peace.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I remind you that history was not kind to us. Jewish militants, determined to create a state for themselves, ethnically cleansed us from our land in 1948. Those Palestinians that remained in Israel suffer from systematic discrimination every day. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank have been under one occupation or another for 67 years. Our brothers and sisters in Lebanon and Syria, third generation refugees, are drowning in the Mediterranean Sea.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have had enough. We Palestinians understand the Jewish people’s unparalleled trauma. We realize the Jewish need for a safe homeland. But must their safety come at our expense?

Contrary to Netanyahu’s false accusations, we have continuously recognized Israel’s right to exist peacefully in its internationally recognized borders for over 20 years — despite the...

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Oslo has become a tool for Israeli expansionism — it's time to let go

The Oslo Accords have been manipulated for the unspoken goal of Jewish annexation of West Bank land. So long as both governments adhere to this failed system, they will be unable to pursue a real peace agreement.

By Nathan Hersh

The Oslo Accords are the banner accomplishment of the Israeli peace movement. But their impact on the West Bank is no longer to orchestrate a phased withdrawal of Israeli forces, which they intended to do. Instead, the leadership in Israel has become increasingly populated by settlers and their sympathizers, and it has used the Oslo Accords for its own ideological pursuits.

The lasting accomplishments of the Oslo Accords—the division of the West Bank into Areas A, B and C; the cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces and the creation of the Palestinian Authority—have different uses under Netanyahu’s premiership. Ministers and MKs from coalition parties frequently call for the annexation of Area C instead of withdrawal from it; Palestinian police forces maintain order in the areas Israel does not want to operate in and the Palestinian Authority is implicitly cosigning all of it. The Oslo Accords have been manipulated to strengthen the occupation, not dismantle it.

I first recognized the political utility of the occupation for Israel as a soldier in the West Bank. My unit was protecting Israeli civilians, preventing Palestinian violence directed at Israeli settlers and containing Palestinian protests. As soldiers, our concerns were not meant to extend beyond those objectives, and questions about the direction our actions were leading our country were irrelevant; such thoughts were dangerous distractions from the imperative to keep our country and our people safe.

The army’s objectives are simple and its mission is clear: security above all else. But the military occupation of the West Bank does not exist in a vacuum. It exists in a context of official Israeli rejection of Palestinian national self-determination and sustained, illegal settlement expansion. A military occupation in this context is not purely about security; it is meant to protect the behaviors of the state.

This blindness ignores the Israeli policies that instigate violence. The growth of settlements, the refusal to negotiate with the non-violent Palestinian Authority and the current coalition’s rejection of the two-state solution makes any serious reference to the Oslo Accords’ potential for peace profoundly out of touch. And while the Accords remain an example of each side’s past willingness to make peace, that...

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Are European settlement labels a double standard?

Israeli government allegations of an EU double standard are largely grounded on misguided or incomplete information.

By Lorenzo Kamel

In 2005 the European Union clarified that products originating in areas beyond Israel’s pre-1967 lines do not benefit from preferential tariff treatment under the EU-Israel Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Ten years later, on September 10, 2015, the European Parliament passed an historical resolution calling on the EU to issue labels for products from those areas — settlement products. It passed 525 to 70 (with 31 abstentions), and will likely be effective from October 1 of this year.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely reacted by saying Israel would not accept “discrimination” between goods produced in different parts of “its territory.” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon argued that labeling goods “reeks of boycott.” Echoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Nahshon claimed that, “Europe treats Israel with sanctimonious hypocrisy, while it doesn’t raise the issue of similar solutions in Northern Cyprus and Western Sahara.”

Allegations of an EU double standard are largely grounded on misguided or incomplete information. Just as the EU does not support Israeli entities in the Palestinian territories, the EU does not provide support to Turkish entities established in Northern Cyprus under Turkey’s national law. Just as it relates to Israeli nationals in the occupied Palestinian territories, the EU evaluates the most suitable implementation methods for “individual projects” in Northern Cyprus, where perhaps half of the estimated 300,000 residents were either born in Turkey or are children of settlers.

As the EU itself clearly states in its own report, it does not enter into financing agreements with the Turkish Cypriot authorities, “because they are not officially recognized by the international community, the [EU] Commission has primarily implemented the assistance by entering into contracts directly and acting as the sole contracting authority.”

These EU policies are carried out with the express purpose of “facilitate[ing] the reunification of Cyprus” and with the aim of “improving the contacts between the two communities.” They are fully consistent with international law, including with Article 43 of the Hague Regulations, according to which building infrastructure is to a certain extent part of the occupier’s obligations, as long as the infrastructure is built for the benefit of the local population.

As for the Western Sahara case, the EU signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) only with Morocco and not with any other entity that lays claim...

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The Syrian child who became a symbol in Beirut — and Germany

Twelve-year-old Fares al-Khodor sold roses in West Beirut for five years until he was killed in an airstrike during a visit to his hometown in Syria. Touched by the massive outpouring from people who knew him in Lebanon, artist Yazan Halwani brought his memory all the way to Germany.

By Avi Blecherman

Yazan Halwani, a Lebanese street artist known as “the Banksy of Beirut,” went all the way to Dortmund, Germany in order to paint a portrait of Fares, a refugee Syrian child who was killed recently in the ongoing war.

Fares al-Khodor, 12, charmed business owners and passersby with a special smile and and captivating personality on Hamra Street in West Beirut, where he sold roses. He first came to Lebanon in the end of 2010 at age seven with his family and quickly became a fixture on Beirut’s streets, lugging around his makeshift vase of roses.

Fares was killed in a coalition airstrike that missed its target and hit his family home in the northern Syrian city of Hasakah in July. He and his family visited their hometown every summer.

“I did not know him as well as others,” Halwani wrote on his Facebook wall, “[but] I remember him and his distinctive smile from the few times I bought flowers from him.”

“I decided to paint him on a building in Dortmund (Germany) during the Huna/K Festival, so that he can keep on spreading his positive vibe, and charming pedestrians to buy flowers from him,” Halwani continued. “I think I also wanted to say that people who flee their houses in Syria have a good reason to do so. Fares was not an add-on to Beirut, he was an integral part of it; during his stay in Syria he was not safe. I regret not painting him during his life.”

Halwani, 22, was invited to Dortmund by the organizers of the Huna/K Festival of art and Arab culture, which began last week and will continue until October 4. He enlisted the help of the Anne Frank School in the city, whose students enthusiastically pitched in. The students were split into three groups: one that worked on the drawing on the wall with Halwani, another that dealt with the Arabic calligraphy that was also drawn on the wall, and a third that documented the entire project.

Explaining why he created the mural in Germany and...

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How a 'security threat' disappears in the blink of an eye

A month ago, administrative detainee Muhammad Allan was deemed a major security threat to Israel. Now the army has decided to release him on the condition that he does not go back on hunger strike.

By Yael Marom

One day a man wakes up to find out he no longer constitutes a threat to the State of Israel. After being imprisoned for an entire year without trial, going on hunger strike for more than two months until he suffered brain damage, was sent back to administrative detention once he began his recovery and went back on hunger strike, the army has decided to release Muhammad Allan.

On Tuesday it was announced that Allan’s administrative detention will not be extended, and that the army will agree to release him on November 4. According to a report by Haaretz, the defense establishment confirmed that the military prosecution will not extend Allan’s administrative order, stating that “his release is conditioned upon him not going back on hunger strike.”

Allan, a 33-year-old attorney from the village Anabous near Nablus, was detained on November 6, 2014. Since then he has been held in administrative detention without having been accused of any wrongdoing. After his detention was renewed a second time — without allowing him a chance to defend himself — he decided to go on hunger strike.

Throughout the strike, the defense establishment claimed that Allan is a member of Islamic Jihad, has been involved in violent activities, and served a three-year sentence after he was convicted for taking part in recruiting suicide bombers and aiding wanted suspects. Even after he was arrested yet again in Barzilay Hospital, the defense establishment claimed that Allan was supporting terrorist attacks, and that it has “a great deal of severe” intelligence on him. The Israeli justice system has yet to present any evidence to back up those claims.

Allan’s struggle reveals the defense establishment’s arbitrary and vengeful decision making process, and the complete lack of any monitoring of the state’s use of administrative detention, which is meant to be used only in special cases. These mechanisms make it possible to determine whether a person is such a grave threat that he/she need to be immediately imprisoned without access to evidence against them, and to release him/her only after the ostensible danger disappears.

So how did November 4 become the date on which Allan will no...

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Abbas' peace project has hit a dead end

He chose the path of moderation. He agreed to a small Palestinian state alongside Israel. He won the support of America and Europe. He proved his obligation to maintaining security for Israelis. And he got nothing in return. The tragedy of Mahmoud Abbas, part one of a two-part series.

By Menachem Klein

Many hopes were pinned on Mahmoud Abbas after he succeeded Yasser Arafat in 2004.

For the international community, Abbas was the polar opposite of his predecessor. From 2000 and until his death, international leaders had grown tired of Arafat, while Abbas still earns their praise. And Western leaders had good reasons: unlike Arafat, Abbas is not theatrical; they could always count on his word. He was one of the architects of the Oslo Accords, and openly opposed the violence and terrorism of the Second Intifada, which to his mind was catastrophic for the Palestinians.

In 2003 Western leaders and Egypt forced Arafat to appoint Abbas prime minister, while transferring over some of the famed leader’s authority to his future successor. The conflict between Abbas and Arafat led to an increased appreciation for the former, whom the world viewed as an ideal leader. It was hoped that through his leadership the Palestinians will undergo the same change that Abbas himself underwent. The man who began as a supporter of armed struggle and the establishment of a Palestinian state to replace Israel has, since the 1980s, supported negotiations and a small Palestinian state alongside Israel. The Israeli peace camp was sure that the public that elected Abbas president would stand behind him when it came time to make peace with Israel.

Abbas won the support of both the Palestinian people and the Palestinian establishment. He is the last founding father of Fatah still around today. Abu Eyad and Abu Jihad, who were his superiors, were both killed, while Farouk Kaddoumi rejected Oslo and became irrelevant. Marwan Barghouti became more popular and militant than Abbas, but he challenged the old guard and never won international support. Furthermore, Israel was never interested in releasing him from prison. Abbas was, and remains, a more convenient rival.

The subcontractor

But it wasn’t only his age and veteran status that worked in Abbas’ favor. Thanks to international support he is viewed as the only person who can force Israel to end the occupation and win independence for his...

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Why won't Saudi Arabia travel to Palestine for a soccer match?

Between implicit recognition of Israel, or simply a desire not to travel through military checkpoints, the Saudi Arabia national team does not want to play against Palestine in Jerusalem. 

By Yoni Mendel (translated from Hebrew by Sol Salbe)

Last April the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur witnessed the Asian draw for the regional groups’ stage of the 2018 World Cup. As soon as the first group was drawn out, the Palestinian representatives knew that times ahead were going to be tough — and not only on field. Knowing who was selected to Group A was enough for them to work it out. Asian Group A included the following teams: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Timor Leste (East Timor), Malaysia and Asia’s rising star: Palestine.

The Palestinians, who last year achieved the huge milestone of qualifying for Asia Cup for the first time in their history, knew that the preliminary stages for the 2018 World Cup contains some huge hurdles. These hurdles would be there long before coach Abdel Nasser Barakat starts wracking his brain as to the opening line up of his team. The first thing the Palestinians need to ensure is that their games actually occur. There are many non-sporting obstacles facing the Palestinian team, and naturally these obstacles are related to the tremendous difficulty of bringing together the national team’s players. The players reside in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, within Israel itself, in various Arab states and in the countries of Europe and America. Furthermore they travel using foreign passports, laissez-passers or refugee ID cards. Even getting them together for training is a strain.

Secondly, there is the problem of exiting and re-entering the areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority. The permit regime, the ongoing occupation of the West Bank, and the blockade of Gaza, has made it difficult for team players to leave for abroad and return. Whether they are coming and going via the Allenby Bridge crossing (Jordan), the Erez Crossing (Israel-Gaza) or the Rafah crossing (Gaza-Egypt), trouble looms. Even those players who have received the relevant permits are liable to be forced to go through security interrogations. Some get stopped at this point. Thus the team’s composition depends not only on the coach and their physical fitness, but to a large extent the on the Israeli authorities’ whims as to who can come and go and who may not.

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