Bahrain parliament calls for cancellation of match in Palestine

April 7, 2010

Bahrain’s parliament has ignored a plea by the Palestinian ambassador to go ahead with a match scheduled for May 28 in Palestine and called for its cancellation.

“We do not want the national team to travel to play the game and have their passports stamped by the Israelis,” the lower chamber said. “That would be a form of normalisation that we utterly reject.”

Ibrahim Bu Sandal, MP representing Al Asala, said that allowing the Bahraini players to go through the Israeli border procedures would be recognising the “Zionist entity.”

“We do not recognise Israel and having the Bahraini players and sports officials go through Israeli procedures and receive their approval means that we recognise and accept their existence,” he said.

Several other MPs and societies have opposed the match in Palestine and called upon the Bahraini authorities to dismiss it or, as a second option, hold it either in “liberated Gaza” or in Manama.

Ahmad Ramadan, the Palestinian envoy in Manama, had pleaded with the Bahraini authorities to go ahead with the game and told those who said that Bahraini passports would be stamped by Israel to correct their information.

“We are not pleased with the reports in the local media about the game. Even if we assume there were good intentions in the published statements, we must stress that they are not based on facts surrounding the game,” the ambassador said. “We wish people would stop producing subjective and biased analyses based on speculations and not on facts.”

For instance, the game will not be held in occupied Jerusalem, but in Al Ram, the ambassador said.

The stadium at Al Ram near Ramallah was inaugurated in October 2008 when Palestine hosted its first international match at home since becoming affiliated to Fifa in 1998.

According to the ambassador, soon after the match Al Ram will host an international conference in which several Arab delegations will take part.

“Their visit is not in any way a form of normalisation with the Israelis. There are no Israeli stamps and visitors can witness the suffering and woes of the Palestinians and, at the same time, allow the local population to feel that they are not alone and that they have brothers and sisters who stand by them and support them,” he said.

Bahrain, like most Arab countries, has no diplomatic or commercial relations with Israel.


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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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