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TAKE ACTION: Tell Argentina and Lionel Messi: There Is #NothingFriendly About Israel Shooting Palestinian Footballers

Business  (tags: petition, Argentina national football team, Palestinian footballers, Israeli occupation, attacks on Palestinians, Mohammed Khalil, Israeli snipers, denied rights to travel, Israeli Aparthei, Lionel Messi, Gaza massacres 2018, BDS international campaign )

- 125 days ago -
Sign the petition urging the Argentina national football team to cancel its "friendly" match with Israel.


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fly b (26)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 11:03 am

Tell Argentina and Lionel Messi: There is #NothingFriendly About Israel Shooting Palestinian Footballers.

Sign the petition urging the Argentina national football team to cancel its "friendly" match with Israel.
Argentina: Don't Team Up with Israeli Apartheid.

Add your name to our letter now.

In a video message, young Palestinian footballer Mohammed Khalil makes a powerful appeal to the Argentinian national football team, including captain Lionel Messi, to cancel their friendly match with Israel on June 9, 2018. Khalil, from Gaza, was shot by an Israeli sniper in the knee, ending his promising football career.

The scheduled match will be part of Israel’s 70th anniversary “celebrations” and is taking place while Israel implements a criminal shoot-to-kill-or-maim policy against peaceful Palestinian protesters in Gaza. This makes the “friendly” a whitewash of Israel's crimes and therefore extremely unfriendly to human rights!

Israel denies all Palestinians, including footballers, their right to freedom of movement. The Israel Football Association’s official leagues include teams in illegal Israeli settlements that are driving Palestinian communities off their own land.

The Israeli government has agreed to pay three million dollars to host the match. This is part of its “sports-washing” propaganda strategy, which exploits sporting events to hide its systemic human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Argentina and Lionel Messi are adored by fans around the world, including in Palestine and the Arab region, and the calls from BDS Argentina to cancel the match have had huge popular support.

Join Mohammed Khalil and send a strong message to Argentina and Lionel Messi that fans around the world won’t stand for them teaming up with Israel’s regime of oppression against Palestinian human rights!

Dear Lionel Messi and Argentina National Football Team,

We urge you to cancel your friendly match with Israel, scheduled for June 9, 2018, due to Israel’s long record of human rights abuses, on and off the field.

Israel arrests, harasses and kills Palestinian players. It destroys Palestinian stadiums and denies Palestinian footballers the right to travel to play. And, Israeli football leagues include clubs based in illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land .

Israeli snipers killed more than 40 unarmed Palestinians in Gaza and injured thousands. Mohammed Khalil, a Palestinian footballer who was demonstrating with thousands for their basic human rights, was shot by a sniper in both legs, ending his football career.

This is not the first time Israeli bullets have ended Palestinians’ football careers. And, it won't be the last under Israel’s violent regime of occupation and apartheid.

Messi, your game with Israel is political. The Israeli government will use it to cover-up its brutal attacks on Palestinians, on and off the field.

There is nothing “friendly” about military occupation and apartheid. Don’t play Israel until Palestinians’ human rights are respected.

Don’t team up with Israeli apartheid!

fly b (26)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 11:30 am
Events for May 15 2018

Window Rock: Nakba: Diné Solidarity with Great Return March
Across France: Protests against the Massacre in Gaza
Houston: Emergency Protest for Palestine
Cape Town: National Protest for the #GreatReturnMarch and Against Israeli Apartheid
Olympia: Commemoration of 70 Years of Nakba
Orlando: Stand in Solidarity with Palestine
Edinburgh: National Nakba Commemoration Scotland
Brussels and Throughout Belgium: Silent Circles to Remember the Nakba
Vancouver: Mark Nakba70 – End Canadian Complicity
Washington, DC: Nakba Teach-In at Schumer’s Office – Free Gaza, Free Palestine
Ankara: 70 Years of Nakba
Johannesburg: Palestine Picket at the US Consulate
Amsterdam: Remember the Nakba – Stand for the Right of Return
San Francisco: 70 Years of Palestinian Resistance and Resilience
Copenhagen: Nakba=Catastrophe
Chicago: Emergency Rally – Reject US Embassy Move & Israeli Massacres
Winnipeg: Al-Nakba 70 – Hope Lives in Remembrance
Tucson: Nakba Day Vigil
Boston: Remember and Resist – 70 Years of Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine
15 May, Odense: Commemoration of al-Nakba
Aalborg: We will never forget al-Nakba!
Washington DC: 70 Years too Long – Nakba Vigil and Storytelling
Oslo: Marking the Nakba, 70 Years of Exile
Helsinki: Protest 70 Years of Nakba
Gothenburg: Demonstration for Palestine
London: Gaza – Stop the Massacre, Emergency Protest
Buenos Aires: Stop the Genocide of the Palestinian People
Rome: Solidarity Demonstration for Palestine
Stockholm: 70 years of displacement – Rally for a Free Palestine
London: Nakba Candlelight Vigil 1948-2018
Athens: 70 Years of Nakba, the struggle continues until the liberation of Palestine
Berlin: 70 Years of Nakba – Solidarity Demonstration for Palestine
Adana: 70 Years of Nakba
Albertville: 70th Anniversary of the Nakba
Brussels: Stop the Gaza Massacre! Protest for Gaza
Dublin: Nakba Day Vigil – in Solidarity with the #GreatReturnMarch
Paris: Rally against the Massacre in Gaza
Calgary: Emergency protest for Gaza – Palestine
Sydney: Protest for Palestine – 70 Years of Nakba
Malmo: Film and Conversation – Al Nakba, 70 Years of Exile
Manchester: Solidarity with Student Prisoners! Resist political detention!
Montevideo: 70 Years of Al-Nakba, 70 Years of Resistance
Istanbul: 70 Years of Nakba
Edmonton: Emergency Rally for Gaza Palestine
Bologna: Enough with the Israeli crimes!
Sevilla: Nakba – 70 years of the occupation of Palestine
Santiago: 70 Years Resisting the Nakba – Manifestation for Palestine
Valladolid: Rally to commemorate Al-Nakba
Barcelona: 70 Years of Resistance in Palestine, 1948-2018

Events for 16 May 2018

Paris: Rally against the Massacre in Gaza
Stains: Solidarity with the Palestinian People
Lille: Stop the Massacre in Gaza!
Toulouse: All to Capitole for Gaza and Jerusalem

Events for 17 May 2018

Saint-Etienne: Rally in support of the Palestinian People

Events for 18 May 2018

NYC: Nakba Day 2018 – Rally and March for 70 Years of Resistance
May 18 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Times Square, Times Square
New York, NY United States

Cleveland: Nakba70 – Gaza – Jerusalem
May 18 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Public Square, Public Square
Cleveland, OH United States

Marco Baracca (41)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 11:33 am

fly b (26)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 11:54 am
Events for 19 May 2018

Bonn: 70 years of expulsion and occupation are enough!
Clermont-Farrand: Nakba – Gaza – BDS Demonstration
Montpellier: Stand with Gaza – Protest the Massacre
Florence: Protest to support Palestine and its resistance

Veronica B (34)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 1:34 pm
Couldn't Sign.An Error ocurre Ajax https 202....

I'll try again later!Thanks fly b

Animae C (506)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 3:50 pm
Thank you for signing our petition.

TY Fly

Animae C (506)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 3:51 pm
Another petition;

The US Must Condemn Indiscriminate Shooting of Gaza Strip Protesters!

Colleen L (3)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 9:43 pm
Petitions signed. Thanks Fly and Animae

Veronica B (34)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 11:18 pm
Yes!!!Signed.Thanks fly bird

fly b (26)
Wednesday May 16, 2018, 12:09 am
Football dreams battle Israeli bullets.
8 May 2018

Muhammad Khalil Obeid is refusing to abandon his dream of becoming a professional football player.

After being shot in both knees by an Israeli sniper on 30 March, Obeid requires major surgery to have any chance of resuming his beloved game. Doctors have told the 23-year-old he would need to travel from Gaza to Germany or Turkey for that surgery.

Overcoming initial despair and determined that the operation take place, he has decided to search for a charity that will pay his costs.

“I dream of playing in Europe, I will not kill my dream,” he said. “And I will not let the Israeli occupation kill my dream.”

Obeid had been part of al-Salah club in Gaza since he was 17. As well as being a talented football player, he finished first in a Gaza marathon that he ran last year.

He is one of 27 competitive athletes injured during the Great March of Return between late March – when the protests began – and late April, according to Gaza’s youth and sports ministry.

A video which Obeid made capturing the moment he was shot during the protests has been widely viewed on the Internet. Obeid was accompanied by several other sports enthusiasts from the Deir al-Balah area of central Gaza at the time he was shot.

Life-changing injuries

A recent investigation by Amnesty International concluded that Israel may be deliberately causing life-changing injuries to people such as Obeid, who have taken part in the Gaza protests.

Amnesty has also cited evidence that Israel is using high-velocity rifles and bullets that expand on impact to cause maximum harm against protesters. Many of the weapons used by Israel against protesters are US-made.

Ata Ahmed Abu al-Hossna was shot by Israeli forces on Friday, 6 April – one week after Obeid.

The 27-year-old spent much of that day at a protest tent near Jabaliya, northern Gaza. When he saw youth burning tires – an effort to thwart Israel’s detection of targets for sniper fire – Abu al-Hossna decided that he should join them. Shortly afterwards, Israel began shooting live ammunition in the direction of demonstrators.

As he tried to flee for safety, Abu al-Hossna was shot in the left leg. “I do not remember what happened after that,” he said.

Young man with bandaged leg holds a trophy as he lies across a bed in a sparely furnished room
Athlete Ata Ahmed Abu al-Hossna wants the leadership of global sports bodies to visit Gaza to see how Israel “destroys our dreams.” (Amjad Ayman Yaghi)

When he regained consciousness the following day, Abu al-Hossna was in the intensive care unit of Gaza’s Indonesia Hospital. As the bullets had caused severe damage to the arteries in his legs, he needed prompt surgery, which took place that Sunday.

He is waiting for a follow-up operation.

Abu al-Hossna has learned from his doctors that it could take 18 months before he will be able to walk on his left leg again.

The likelihood that he will have to give up football has depressed him so much that he cannot even watch the sport on television. “I sit alone in my room,” he said.

As well as playing as a forward for the Namaa football team, Abu al-Hossna had taken part in running and table tennis competitions.

He argues that representatives of the world’s major sporting organizations should visit Gaza. “These envoys should come and see how the Israeli occupation destroys our dreams,” he said. “We try to follow our dreams despite being under siege.”

Deep sadness

Alaa al-Dali, a 21-year-old cyclist, had qualified to represent Palestine at the Asian Games being held in Indonesia this summer.

Going there will not be possible. On 30 March, he was shot in his right leg by an Israeli sniper. The damage caused was so severe that the leg later had to be amputated.

Al-Dali had gone to the first Friday in the Great March of Return with some friends. They joined the protest in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza. Al-Dali had gone to the protest by bike and was dressed in cycling shorts and jersey.

He was shot below the knee that afternoon.

Man with amputated leg uses a crutch with one arm while holding on to the seat of his bicycle with his other arm
Cyclist Alaa al-Dali’s leg was amputated weeks before he was set to represent Palestine at the Asian Games.
(Amjad Ayman Yaghi)

The al-Dali family has accused Israel of denying Alaa permission to leave Gaza for specialist treatment in the occupied West Bank. After he was denied permission to travel, doctors decided it was necessary to amputate his leg. The amputation took place in mid-April.

The thought that he won’t be able to attend the Asian Games makes him “go into a deep sadness and cry,” al-Dali said. He is nonetheless determined to have a prosthetic leg fitted so that he can resume cycling.

With bitter irony, al-Dali was shot at a time when Israel was courting cycling fans internationally. The 2018 Giro d’Italia – a major bike race – recently opened in Jerusalem as part of an Israeli propaganda exercise.

Al-Dali stressed it is necessary that the focus on Israel’s human rights abuses be maintained. “The Israeli occupation has committed brutal crimes against us,” he said. “The world needs to know that the Israeli occupation is cruel.”

Amjad Ayman Yaghi is a journalist based in Gaza.

Anne K (139)
Wednesday May 16, 2018, 4:54 pm
Signed. Thanks, Fly.

Margie FOURIE (148)
Thursday May 17, 2018, 1:34 am
Surely sport is not political?

Past Member (0)
Thursday May 17, 2018, 2:02 am
Signed both the petitions.

Ben O (140)
Thursday May 17, 2018, 4:24 am

Paola S (12)
Thursday May 17, 2018, 11:28 am
Signed, thank you for posting

S J (130)
Friday May 18, 2018, 5:43 am
In solidarity meow fly

Scooby Snacks (96)
Wednesday May 30, 2018, 4:17 am
Hi, sorry, link not working for me, came back lots of times to sign.

This works:

Thanks Fly be ♥️ 🌹


fly b (26)
Wednesday May 30, 2018, 8:06 am
Thanks Scooby.

fly b (26)
Thursday May 31, 2018, 6:08 pm
Video: Footballer shot in both knees tells Messi to cancel Israel match.
30 May 2018

Palestinian football player Muhammad Khalil Obeid is urging the Argentinian national football team to cancel their “friendly match” in Israel scheduled for 9 June.

In the video above, Obeid appeals directly to team captain Lionel Messi, “because he is very popular in Palestine, particularly in the Gaza Strip.”

Israeli snipers shot Obeid in both of his knees during rallies near the Gaza-Israel boundary on 30 March, ending a promising football career.

The video above also includes graphic footage – filmed by Obeid himself – of the moment he was shot by Israeli snipers.

“I was peacefully participating in the demonstration. I was taking a selfie to remember the march. I was directly targeted by occupation snipers,” Obeid says. “I was shot in my right and left legs and my knee cap area had to be removed.”

Since the beginning of the Great March of Return protests in the Gaza Strip, Israel has killed more than 100 Palestinians and injured thousands more.

Doctors and human rights groups have documented how Israel is using fragmenting ammunition that causes “horrific injuries” and is likely to leave hundreds of people with permanent disabilities.

At least 27 of those injured by late April were competitive athletes, according to Gaza’s youth and sports ministry.

“Stand in solidarity”

Obeid urges Messi and his national team “to stand in solidarity with Palestinians and to boycott the scheduled game with Israel, which is occupying our land.”

Messi is most known as the star player for Barcelona and is a hero to many Palestinians.

A few years ago, this video of a Palestinian child deftly escaping the clutches of four Israeli soldiers became wildly popular on social media after someone added a commentary track to it as if the child were Messi skilfully weaving a football around opposing players to score a legendary goal:

The planned match in Jerusalem is part of Israel’s 70th anniversary celebrations in the city, which also marks 70 years since the Nakba – the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians before and after Israel’s creation.

The match would be “taking place while Israel implements a criminal shoot-to-kill-or-maim policy against peaceful Palestinian protesters in Gaza,” PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, stated.

Describing it as a “friendly game” whitewashes Israel’s crimes and is extremely “unfriendly” to human rights, PACBI added.

Palestinians are hoping that Messi will be moved to follow the lead of numerous celebrities and artists – including Gilberto Gil and Shakira – who have heeded their boycott calls in recent weeks.

Activists are using the hashtag #NothingFriendly to boost their appeals to Argentina team to pull out of the match.

Shooting athletes

Tickets for the scheduled match sold out within 20 minutes, The Times of Israel reported, with Israeli soldiers receiving a discounted rate.

Some of those attending may therefore include the soldiers who shot Obeid and other athletes in Gaza.

Palestinian football player Muhammad Khalil Obeid shot in both legs by Israeli occupation forces during Great March of Return protests, at his home in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, 24 April.
(Mahmoud Khattab / APA images)

Obeid, 23, has played for Gaza’s al-Salah club since he was 17. He also finished first in a Gaza marathon last year.

But now he requires major surgery unavailable in Gaza to have any chance of resuming the game he loves.

“I dream of playing in Europe, I will not kill my dream,” he told The Electronic Intifada earlier this month.

“And I will not let the Israeli occupation kill my dream.”

Footballer shot in both knees tells Messi to cancel Israel match. (1:41)
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