Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Uefa should exclude Jerusalem from Euro 2020 football host cities

DURING the next five months, Uefa will select 13 host cities for its Euro 2020 football competition. We appeal to Uefa to exclude Jerusalem from this list of hosts.

Israel flouts the UN position that Jerusalem should be an open city for all, making it impossible for most Palestinians to visit the holy sites there, or to visit relatives.

The Israeli state supports the confiscation of Palestinian land and homes in East Jerusalem for the use of illegal settlers.

In February this year, Amnesty International published a report entitled Trigger Happy, which documents the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli occupation forces. The report describes this treatment as “unnecessary, arbitrary and brutal”.

Just one example of this was seen earlier this year, when Israeli soldiers shot repeatedly at the legs and feet of two talented teenage Palestinian footballers at a checkpoint, maiming them for life.

Israel continues to perpetrate its devastating military occupation of the Palestinian territories, flouts international law, totally disregards UN resolutions, and imprisons hundreds of Palestinians, including children, without charge.

It would be a mockery of Fifa’s mission and statutes if Jerusalem were awarded the status of hosting  games in this tournament.

Leaders of international football must respond to the pleas from suffering Palestinians to sanction Israel in the community of nations.

John Austin

Victoria Brittain

Rodney Bickerstaffe

Breyten Breytenbach

Caryl Churchill

William Dalrymple

The Rev Garth Hewitt

Dr Ghada Karmi

Bruce Kent

Paul Laverty

Mike Leigh

Ken Loach

Miriam Margolyes

Mairead Maguire

Kika Markham

Professor Nur Masalha

Karma Nabulsi

Professor Steven Rose

Professor Hilary Rose

Salman Abu Sitta

Ahdaf Souief

Baroness Jenny Tonge

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Alice Walker

Roger Waters

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