‘Palestine Cup’ final postponed due to security-related travel restrictions

Out of 35 people on the Gazan team’s list, only four were approved to travel through Israeli territory, said Palestinian officials.

By World Israel News Staff 

The Palestine Football Association (PFA) announced that it has to postpone the ‘Palestine Cup’ soccer final because of Israeli travel restrictions imposed due to security concerns.

After a 1-1 draw last Sunday in Rafah, Gaza between Balata FC, champions of the area which encompasses Judea and Samaria, and Khadamat Rafah, the champions from the Gaza Strip, the two teams were to play the second leg of the final in the Samarian city of Nablus (Shechem), says the PFA.

The territories under Palestinian self-rule, within Judea and Samaria and all of Gaza, are not contiguous, with Israeli territory located between the two regions.

“Out of the 35 people on the Rafah team list, only four were approved: the club president, vice president, one doctor, and a single player,” said the PFA in a statement. “Two extra administrators would be approved provided they agree to undergo questioning at the Israeli-controlled crossing,” said the football association.

Israel has been attacked from the Gaza Strip on a regular basis in border clashes and through the use of incendiary kites and balloons, and has repeatedly been on the receiving end of barrages of hundreds of rockets fired from Gaza into Israeli localities.

The Hamas terror group took control of Gaza in 2007. Israel and the Judea and Samaria-based Palestinian Authority (PA) reportedly have both been operating to keep Hamas from taking over in Judea and Samaria.

PFA vice president Susan Shalabi told Arab News that the  international football federation FIFA was informed of the need to postpone the second leg match and that “FIFA came back to us saying that the [Israeli] travel restrictions were for security reasons.”