Palestinian Football and Sports Clubs have released a letter urging Inter and Atletico Madrid to cancel a pre-season friendly match scheduled on August 8 in Israel.
The letter, reported by Italian political activist group BDS Italia, explains the rationale behind their demand, with the group opposing the location of the friendly on the grounds of Israel’s actions towards the Palestinian people.
In the letter, the clubs highlight some of the abuses committed by Israeli military towards Palestinian civilians, and ask how major football clubs can give legitimacy to the Israeli state through participation in the friendlies.
In the letter, the clubs highlight that their own ability to compete is inhibited heavily by the restrictions on freedom of movement and apartheid which Palestinians are subject to.
The letter highlights that among the victims of Israeli military and police strikes on Palestinian civilians are footballers and other athletes.
In addition to the letter, the group have launched a hashtag of #NothingFriendly on social media which they aim to use to draw attention to the issue and mount a pressure campaign to stop the pre-season match from taking place.
An excerpt from their letter:
“In May alone, Israeli soldiers killed two promising footballers, 16-year-old Said Odeh of Balata FC in the occupied West Bank and Muath Nabil Al-Zaanin of Beit Hanoun FC in Gaza.
“Israel has ended the careers of dozens of Palestinian athletes. Israel restricts our freedom of movement, which means we are not free to travel, to train, or to play against our Palestinian counterparts.
“It also means that our chances of travelling to play against other regional or international teams are very limited.”