Israel imposes travel ban for Gazan footballers

Israel bans seven Gazan footballers from travelling to occupied West Bank from besieged Gaza for return finals match for Palestinian Cup

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Al-Shujaia football players

Updated Aug 8, 2015

According to a written statement by Gaza's Ittihad al Shujaiya club, its seven football players together with Hebron’s Al Ahly team footballers were prevented by Israeli authorities to travel to the occupied West Bank from Beit Hanoun crossing.

Al Ahly team from Hebron in the occupied West Bank has been in Gaza for the first match of Palestine Championship Cup Final that was played at Gaza's Yarmouk stadium on Thursday.

Ittihad al Shujaiya team said in the statement that they will not leave Gaza as long as they are allowed to leave all together with the other football players, while Israeli authorities denied imposing any travel restrictions on the players.

The match seen as a symbolic triumph over the 9-year Israeli blockade and political tension, ended in a 0-0 draw.

The return finals match for the Palestinian Championship Cup is scheduled for Aug. 9 in Hebron, the winning team will play in the upcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup representing Palestine.

It was a cause of relief for Gazans from the blockade induced poverty and destruction surrounding their reality, especially after the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict which lasted for 50 days.

The latest war in Gaza occurred in 2014 and saw over 2,100 Palestinians killed, most of whom were civilians, as well as the death of 67 Israeli soldiers and six Israeli civilians. 16,245 homes were destroyed due to the war and it continued for 50 days before a cease-fire put an end to it last August.

TRTWorld and agencies