Aletho News


Israel stands behind travel restrictions for Palestinian football players

RT | June 11, 2014

Israel’s sports minister has defended the country’s travel restrictions against Palestinian football players in a letter to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, citing security concerns.

Tel Aviv indicates potential attacks by Palestinian militants as the pretext for the prohibitive travel rules that affect most Palestinians, including athletes. Israel has barred travel between the West Bank and Gaza – territories located on opposite ends of Israel which Palestinians seek to include in a future state.

Israeli sports minister Limor Livnat said to Blatter in the letter that Israel would allow Palestinian athletes to “exit and enter for the purpose of sports, excluding occasions in which there are attempts to make use of sports in order to injure or threaten the security of our citizens.”

Livnat said Israel detained Palestinian national team player Sameh Maraabeh in April based on suspicion over a meeting with a “military activist” of the Islamic militant group Hamas during his team’s training in Qatar. She alleged that Maraabeh took funding, a mobile phone, and a written message from the activist. He remains in detention.

“I am confident you will find this information worrisome and constituting clear evidence of the misuse of sports in a fashion that threatens the security of Israeli civilians,” Livnat wrote, according to AP.

The Palestine Football Association had previously called on the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) Congress to suspend Israel from FIFA until it relieves the restrictions on Palestinian players.

FIFA is to meet in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Tuesday and Wednesday this week ahead of the World Cup tournament beginning Thursday.

In May, Blatter attempted to bring the two sides together during a trip to Jerusalem and the West Bank. He has called on the parties to “separate politics and sports” and to find a way to allow Palestinian players to travel.

In her letter to Blatter, Livnat also accused Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Association, of incitement against Israel.

Rajoub has described Israel as the “bully of the neighborhood,” and called on FIFA to levy sanctions against Tel Aviv for policies toward Palestinians.

Those policies include delaying or preventing visiting athletes and sports delegations from entering the West Bank and blocking some Palestinian players from leaving Gaza, according to Palestinian officials.

Jamal Mahmoud, head coach of the Palestinian national team, said he is not aware of a meeting between Maraabeh and Hamas during the team’s training in Qatar.

“If he did talk to a member of Hamas, it was his own individual decision,” Mahmoud said.

Palestinian football officials are trying to secure a location for training before the 2015 Asian Cup. The final location depends on Israeli permission based on movements of players in and between Palestinian territories.

“The hope from these discussions is that Israel treats our Palestinian players and those responsible for our Palestinian players by the national law and the charter per the agreement with FIFA,” said Ghassan Jaradat, media director for the Palestine Football Association.

June 10, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Qatar World Cup toll: ‘Hundreds’ of Indian migrant workers dead in two years

RT | February 17, 2014

More than 450 Indian migrant workers in Qatar have died in the last two years, media revealed on Monday. Another upcoming report will show that 400 Nepalese have lost their lives scrambling to get the Gulf state ready for the 2022 World cup.

At least 237 Indian migrants lost their lives in Qatar in 2012 and another 218 in 2013 up to December 5, AFP reported on Monday, citing figures received via a Right to Information request filed at the Indian embassy in Qatar.

On average, 20 Indian migrants die per month in Qatar. August last year was the most deadly month on record, with 27 fatalities being reported.

The Indian embassy did not provide information regarding the causes of death or where they occurred. It also declined to disclose any correspondence between the diplomatic mission and the Indian government regarding the treatment of its nationals in the Gulf state.

Meanwhile, figures set to be released later this week say that 400 Nepalese workers have died at building sites since construction for the World Cup 2022 got underway in 2010, the Guardian reports. The Guardian did not state when the deaths occurred, but said that the Pravasi Nepali Co-ordination Committee, a respected human rights organization, which reached its figure using official sources in Doha, would release more information in the coming days.

There were 500,000 Indians estimated to be in Qatar at the end of 2012 – roughly 26 percent of Qatar’s population. Nepalese workers comprise approximately 20 percent of Qatar’s migrant workforce and 16 percent of the total population. The total death toll stemming from the country’s World Cup scramble could in fact be higher, as other migrant groups are also present in the country.

As of January 2012, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans together accounted for 14 percent of the emirate’s population, according to US State Department figures.

On February 11, Qatar issued detailed guidelines intended to protect the country’s massive expatriate community from exploitation and stem the intensified international criticism on its human rights record.

Activists, however, believe the number of dead could swell to 4,000 by the time the 2022 World Cup kicks off.

On Thursday, FIFA said there was little it could do to alleviate the slave labor conditions migrants are toiling under in the country.

According to German paper Die Welt, however, a source identified as a “senior FIFA employee” said moving the World Cup to another country is “a serious option” despite public claims to the contrary. Last July, Theo Zwanziger, a current member of FIFA’s executive committee, said the decision to award Qatar the 2022 event was a “blatant mistake.”

In September, The United Nations condemned Qatar for failing to comply with an international convention banning the use of forced labor.

February 17, 2014 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment