Saturday, June 22, 2024

The Destruction of Sports Infrastructure in Gaza Won't Stop Sports


Issam Khalidi


  There is a widespread perception that Israel's genocide is being used in conjunction with various other goals for the sake of achieving them simultaneously. There is a very clear determination among Israeli authorities to destroy everything related to the Palestinian people, including the culture, history, and identity of the Palestinian people.


  Prior to October 7th, Israel's apartheid policy barred Gazan athletes from participating in sports or representing Palestine with their brothers and sisters in the West Bank. In addition, Israel's bombing of the Gaza Sector over the past two decades has left hundreds of athletes disabled. There's no room in this article for all the martyrs and Israel's crimes against Palestinian sports.


  It has been reported that more than 300 athletes have been killed and 50 sports facilities have been destroyed. As an example, Freej Al-Hallaq, a veteran athlete suffering from Alzheimer's disease, was executed in cold blood by Israeli forces in front of Al-Shifa Hospital, leaving him bleeding for a long time after execution. As a result of the bombing of her house in the Nuseirat camp in the West Bank, Nagham Abu Samra, a Palestinian karate champion and a member of the Palestinian national team, died after suffering shrapnel wounds and being in a coma.


  The long-distance runner Majed Abu Marahel, the first Palestinian to compete at the Olympics in 1996, passed away recently in Gaza as a result of Israel's inhumane blockade and destruction of Gaza's healthcare system. Israel turned Gaza Strip stadiums into prisons, torture centers, and execution sites. This happened at Gaza's Yarmouk Stadium where dozens of civilians were forced to take off their clothes in the open.


   In a similar manner, this heritage destruction is no different from the one that took place in 1948; it includes the destruction of sporting facilities, club buildings, and the killing of coaches, administrators, and sports journalists. Not to mention the loss of tons of historical and administrative documents buried under the rubble. These are a major concern for both historians and scholars alike.


    It is worth noting that sports are not a new phenomenon in Gaza, and that they have been flourishing ever since the 1920's. In 1925 Filastin reported about two games between the Orthodox Club in Jaffa and the Sports Club in Gaza which was one of the first athletic clubs established in Palestine.  Filastin described one of the games in May 1927 between these two clubs:


“What happened in Gaza recently was one of the most striking manifestations of this [sports] renaissance. Their patriotic spirit and affinity were evident during and after the game."


    It is important to recognize that, between 1948 and 1967, sports in Gaza varied from those in diaspora areas in a number of ways. After 1948, the sports movement in Gaza became a focal point for all sporting activities in all diaspora. From Gaza, Palestine arranged to participate in Arab and international games (such as the Pan Arab Games and Friendship Games in Cambodia).


It’s worth noting that sports in the Gaza Strip grew significantly under the Egyptian administration at a time when sports were developing in Egypt, unlike some other Arab countries. Apart from the clubs in Gaza established before 1948, UNRWA opened service centers (in Jabalia, Rafah, Khan Yunis, Al-Shati’, Al-Nuseirat, Al-Breij and Al-Maghazi) in 1951, which became clubs with their own teams, participated in local and Arab championships and played a big part in developing sports in the sector.


     In 1962, the athletic leadership decided to form a football association [al-Ittihad al-Riyadi al-Falastini li Korat al-Qadam] (Palestine Sports Federation - Football). The clubs affiliated to the Federation were 15 in number.  Three other Federations in Palestine have been accepted in their respective Federations, name Boxing, Weightlifting and Basketball. In August 1963 it applied to join FIFA. However, FIFA rejected its application under the pretext that there is no Palestine, so Gaza can't be in Palestine. A part of a country being accepted as an independent member is also against FIFA rules. 


   Sports continued to develop in Gaza Sector after 1967 because of the solid foundation established in the fifties and sixties. The League of Clubs Rabitat al-Andiya was established in Gaza in the late 1980s and served as a ministry for sports and youth. In spite of the 2007 siege and the difficulties Israel put in the way of sports in Gaza, sports continued to flourish there. The number of athletic clubs in Gaza Sector reached 58. Sport in the Gaza Strip is not limited to competition, cups, and entertainment. Rather, it is a form of steadfastness and challenge to the occupation. It also united the Strip's people and its factions and paid tribute to martyrs.


   It has been demonstrated throughout history that every time Israel attempts to destroy the Palestinian people, their history and culture, they come back strong and more resilient than before. The barriers that Israel places in front of Palestinian sports, as well as the destruction that it perpetrates on Palestinian sports, will continue to serve as an inspiration for Palestinian sports to remain competitive in the future.


  Probably the most significant proof of this was the achievement of the Palestinian national football team in June 2024, when the team reached the third round of Asian qualifying after finishing second in a group that also included Australia, Lebanon, and Bangladesh after finishing second in their group. Today, Palestine's FIFA ranking is 95 out of 185 teams. This rank is acceptable when compared to the conditions Palestinians live in. One year after Palestine's admission to FIFA in 1998, in 1999, it was ranked 170th in the world, and in 2015, it was ranked 134th.


     There is no doubt that the people of Gaza, who have found a new front in war history - the tunnels - from where they launch attacks on the occupation forces and performing miracles through their steadfastness and heroism, will have no problem rebuilding their lives as soon as the war is over. Certainly, a lot of damage has been done to the sports infrastructure. Despite this, there has been little damage done to the will, persistence, and determination necessary to build a decent life for the future.




Saturday, May 4, 2024

Israeli Anger is Growing at Rjoub as a Way to Silence the Truth

        Issam Khalidi

   Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz threatened to revoke Palestine Football Association President Jibril Rjoub's travel pass after he demanded Israel be banned from international competitions over Gaza. Rjoub is working around the clock to remove Israel from FIFA, according to Katz. 

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Palestine’s Bid to Join the International Football Association FIFA 1945 - 1998


Issam Khalidi

    Throughout different historical stages Palestinians sought through football sense of national identity, independence and world recognition. In 1998 Palestine joined the International Football Association FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association).   Palestinians have been striving to achieve this goal for more than half a century since the 1940s until the 1990s. This achievement was reached after a long process that mirrored Palestinian efforts to be regarded as a sovereign nation and take its rightful place in international sporting events as well as in other international realms. [1] The purpose of this article is to demonstrate Palestine's journey to FIFA as well as the challenges it faced during that journey. Additionally, it highlights the benefits that Palestine enjoys as a FIFA member.


Thursday, March 28, 2024

The Genocide in Gaza - Western Hypocrisy and FIFA’s Double Standard


Issam Khalidi


   In the same way that many others are concerned and outraged about the ongoing genocide in Gaza, I was listening to an Israeli official on MSNBC saying: "the massacre of October 7, and the war in Gaza." For the ethnic cleansing of Palestine to be justified by Israel and its supporters the Israeli narrative of the 'war between Israel and Hamas' (the Genocide) must be accepted by the world. 

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Why is Palestine's FIFA Membership Important?


Issam Khalidi


   During my interview with Palestinian martyr journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in November 2021, I was asked several questions as part of our interview, but this one stood out as most noteworthy of them all: What does Palestine's FIFA membership mean to us as Palestinians? In our conversation regarding this membership, I raised a few critical issues. Nevertheless, I kept thinking about this question and decided it would be a good idea to write a post about it.


أهمية عضوية فلسطين في الاتحاد الدولي لكرة القدم - الفيفا


عصام الخالدي  


     خلال لقائي الصحفي مع الشهيدة شيرين أبو عاقلة في تشرين الثاني عام ٢٠٢١ طَرحَت عليّ سؤال له معنى كبير وهو: ماذا تعني بالنسبة لنا كفلسطينيين عضوية فلسطين في الاتحاد الدولي لكرة القدم؟ وقد ذَكَرتُ في هذا اللقاء بعض الأمور المهمة لهذه العضوية، ولكن هذا السؤال استمر يرن بأذني ليدفعني إلى كتابة مقالاً بهذا الخصوص.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Ideological Aspects of Palestinian Sports

           Issam Khalidi

   It is not unusual to see Palestinian culture (literature, art, and sports) infused with national characteristics. There is a reason for this: the pain, the dispossession, and the displacement of the Palestinian people. As a form of social consciousness, Palestinian culture was not isolated from political conditions.  Since this culture has been involved in catastrophes (Nakbat) for over a century, it is often perceived as politicized and ideological.


Saturday, December 23, 2023

الرياضة الفلسطينية وأيديولوجيا التحرر الوطني


    عصام الخالدي 

     تعرف الأيديولوجية بأنها مجموعة منسقة من الأفكار والمعتقدات خاصة فيما يتعلق بحياة الإنسان أو ثقافته، كما يمكن تعريف الأيديولوجية بشكل أكبر على أنها تحتوي على محتوى صريح وافتراضات ضمنية. [i] وقد توجد الأيديولوجيات في كل ثقافة وفي أشكال مختلفة دينية وعلمانية، وترتكز معظمها على أفكار غير قابلة للاختبار ومتأصلة في القيم والافتراضات الأساسية لكل ثقافة. ورغم أن الأيديولوجيات ترتكز على افتراضات غير قابلة للاختبار، فإن تأثيراتها واضحة للغاية، فهي تقوم بتوجيه وعينا وسلوكنا وعواطفنا ووجودنا الاجتماعي .


Saturday, December 16, 2023

Sports in Palestine: Writing History According to Zionist Standards

          Issam Khalidi

    As we browse Israeli sports historians' research, we are not surprised to find that they present Palestine as a place devoid of Palestinians. If such histories mention the Palestinians, they invariably depict them as lacking any cultural or social aspect. According to them, Zionists populated the region and brought civilization to it; that their efforts brought sports to primitive people who had never experienced them before. Efforts to distort reality and rewrite history are not new. In fact, up until 1948, Arab sports clubs in Palestine numbered about sixty-five clubs, of which fifty-five were members of the (Arab) Palestinian Sports Federation. 


Monday, October 9, 2023

School Physical Education in Palestine 1900 – 1948

Issam Khalidi


   School sport played a pivotal role in the Palestinian sports movement throughout its history. It was at the core of this movement from the very beginning. As schools in Palestine existed before clubs, sports activities were generally practiced in schools before clubs were established. Schools formed their own football teams and competed against one another. They met with teams from social-athletic clubs and the British military. At the same time school graduates formed their own teams and clubs that competed with Palestinian clubs in sporting activities. Annual field day has been held by all public and private schools in Palestine since the early 1920s. School physical activities and competitions strengthened the bonds between Palestinians in different villages and cities.

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Physical Inactivity: An Overlooked Side Effect of The First Palestinian Intifada (1987 - 1993)


Issam Khalidi


   In 1987, with the start of the glorious Palestinian Intifada in the West Bank and Gaza, the occupation forces stormed social and sports clubs and arrested their members. As a precautionary measure, the clubs were closed within a short period of time. The suspension of sports activities had a negative impact on the growth of sports in Palestine. As national festivals, sports games were one of the biggest events to be held during the occupation period.


Tuesday, July 11, 2023

مؤرخو الرياضة الإسرائيليون : تدوين التاريخ الرياضي في فلسطين وفق المعايير الصهيونية


  عصام سامي الخالدي


   بعد عام 1948 سعى الصهاينة إلى تبرير جرائمهم التي ارتكبوها ضد الشعب الفلسطيني مستخدمين كل الوسائل من أجل إخفاء ومحو وتشويه تاريخه ، وكان من ضمنها مصادرة الكثير من الكتب والوثائق والصور وحبسها في المكتبات والأرشيف الإسرائيلي ، بالإضافة إلى كتابة التاريخ في سياق مفبرك يخدم في النهاية الفكر الصهيوني ويتوافق مع معاييره العنصرية الشوفينية. وليس بالغريب أن نرى أن المؤرخين الإسرائيليين قد لعبوا دوراً في تنفيذ هذه المهمة ، فعندما نتصفح الابحاث والمقالات عن تاريخ الرياضة التي يكتبها باحثون ومؤرخون رياضيون إسرائيليون يأتي إلى مخيلتنا هذا الانطباع وكأن فلسطين كانت خالية من شعب عربي فلسطيني كان يعيش على هذه الأرض لقرون عدة ، يمارس نشاطاته وحياته العادية. وتدل الحقائق التاريخية أن عدد الأندية الرياضية العربية في فلسطين حتى عام 1948 قد بلغ حوالي خمس وستون نادياً كان منهم خمس وخمسون عضوا في الاتحاد الرياضي الفلسطيني. [1] 


Saturday, April 1, 2023

Sunday, November 6, 2022

الجسد الفلسطيني: عماد الوجود والهوية والمقاومة



Tuesday, November 1, 2022

الأخبار الرياضية في صحيفة (الحياة) 1930 – 1931


Sunday, April 24, 2022

الرياضة الفلسطينية ودورها في حركة المقاطعة وسحب الاستثمار وفرض العقوبات BDS


     عصام الخالدي

     من الصعب تجاهل الدور الذي يمكن أن تلعبه الرياضة في وقتنا الحاضر في محاربة العنصرية وفي حركة التحرر الوطني ، وقد اثبتت التجربة الفلسطينية أن الرياضة لم تكن وسيلة في إبراز الهوية الوطنية فحسب، بل أيضاً أداة للتصدي ومواجهة الاحتلال وفضح ممارساته القمعية التعسفية ، كما وأصبحت الرياضة لاعباً فعالاً في حركة المقاطعة Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions BDS  وسحب الاستثمار وفرض العقوبات   في عام 2005 ، دعت منظمات المجتمع المدني الفلسطيني إلى المقاطعة كشكل من أشكال الضعط غير العنيف على إسرائيل ، وتم إطلاق حركة المقاطعة من قبل 170 نقابة فلسطينية وشبكات اللاجئين والمنظمات النسائية والجمعيات المهنية ولجان المقاومة الشعبية وهيئات المجتمع المدني الفلسطينية الأخرى. هذه الحركة مستوحاة من حركة جنوب إفريقيا المناهضة للفصل العنصري ، تحت دعوة المقاطعة الفلسطينية (BDS) للضغط غير العنيف على إسرائيل حتى تتماثل أمام القانون الدولي. [1]   

Saturday, March 19, 2022

الاتحاد الدولي لكرة القدم (الفيفا): أخلاقيات النفاق وازدواجية المعايير


عصام الخالدي


   تؤكد لنا احداث روسيا – اوكرانيا والتعاطف الدولي مع "القضية الأوكرانية" نفاق العالم الغربي وازدواجية المعايير في التعامل مع هذه القضية بالمقارنة مع صمته وتعامله الفوقي مع قضية فلسطين والقضايا الاخرى العراق ، سوريا ، افغانستان ، اليمن ، وليبيا. وعلى الصعيد الكروي نرى بوضوح كيف كانت وما زالت "الفيفا" ونظيرتها "اليويفا" تمنعان الرياضيين والجمهور الذي كان يتعاطف مع فلسطين وغيرها تحت شعار عدم خلط الرياضة بالسياسة، ليصبح التعاطف مع أوكرانيا جزء من طقوس المباريات وأخلاقيات هاتين المؤسستين ، فنحن قبل هذه الاحداث كنا نعلم جيدا مواقف الغرب هذه، ولكن ما اعترانا الآن هو الشعور بعمق وتزايد خيبة الأمل والاشمئزاز تجاه هذا السلوك الغربي بسبب النفاق وازدواجية المعايير . ومن المؤكد أنه سيكون لهذه المشاعر آثارها على كيفية تعاملنا مع الغرب ومؤسساته في المستقبل .


Sunday, July 25, 2021

Sunday, June 13, 2021

هل أراد الصهاينة التعاون مع العرب في المجال الرياضي في فلسطين الانتدابية؟


   عصام الخالدي  


  يدعي المؤرخون الإسرائيليون دائما أن قيادتهم  الرياضية الصهيونية في فلسطين كانت على استعداد دائم للتعاون مع العرب ، وأن الثاني كان يصر على رفض التعاون معهم في المجال الرياضي . نعم ، كان هناك رفض من الجانب العربي للتعاون مع الصهاينة في المجال الرياضي لأسباب اهمها أن الصهاينة لم يبدوا النية الصادقة للتعاون مع العرب ، وحتى لو أبدوا النية في التعاون مع العرب فإنها كثيرا ما كانت تبقى ضمن نطاق محدود أو أنهم كانوا مرغمون بسبب متطلبات الاتحادات الدولية.  

Saturday, November 28, 2020