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State of Palestine: Anger in Gaza as football cup final delayed by Israeli decision02:14

State of Palestine: Anger in Gaza as football cup final delayed by Israeli decision

Palestinian Territory, Occupied, Gaza
July 7, 2019 at 18:30 GMT -00:00 · Published

Dozens of people protested outside the UN office in Gaza against Israel's refusal to allow local football players to travel to the occupied West Bank for a game. The decision forced the Palestinian Football Association to postpone the second leg of the Palestine Cup final between Balata FC and Khadamat Rafah which was scheduled for Wednesday.

"We are shocked by the decision of the Israeli occupation to prevent the entry of the Khadamat Rafah delegation. It consists of 35 individuals including players, medical team, journalists, the head of the club and members of the management. The number of the players is 22 and the occupation rejected 21 players and allowed the entry of only one player and three members of the managing team", said Hodaifa Lafi, a member of the club's management.

Players say they didn't expect the decision as Balata FC players were allowed to travel to Gaza for the first leg which ended 1-1. "We play football which is a way for peace and understanding and it is not related to political matters and problems", said Bilal Al-Rawash, Khadamat Rafah player.

Palestinians looking to travel between the occupied West Bank and Gaza must apply for Israeli permits. Protesters called on the EU and FIFA to put pressure on Israel to allow the final resume.

State of Palestine: Anger in Gaza as football cup final delayed by Israeli decision02:14
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Dozens of people protested outside the UN office in Gaza against Israel's refusal to allow local football players to travel to the occupied West Bank for a game. The decision forced the Palestinian Football Association to postpone the second leg of the Palestine Cup final between Balata FC and Khadamat Rafah which was scheduled for Wednesday.

"We are shocked by the decision of the Israeli occupation to prevent the entry of the Khadamat Rafah delegation. It consists of 35 individuals including players, medical team, journalists, the head of the club and members of the management. The number of the players is 22 and the occupation rejected 21 players and allowed the entry of only one player and three members of the managing team", said Hodaifa Lafi, a member of the club's management.

Players say they didn't expect the decision as Balata FC players were allowed to travel to Gaza for the first leg which ended 1-1. "We play football which is a way for peace and understanding and it is not related to political matters and problems", said Bilal Al-Rawash, Khadamat Rafah player.

Palestinians looking to travel between the occupied West Bank and Gaza must apply for Israeli permits. Protesters called on the EU and FIFA to put pressure on Israel to allow the final resume.

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