Thursday, 18 August 2016

Respect to Scottish Football fans as they show solidarity for the Palestinian people.

Fans at a football match between Glasgow Celtic and Israeli side Hapoel Beer Sheva turned whole sections of the stadium into a sea of Palestinian flags in an amazing show of unity, strength and solidarity on Wednesday night protesting against the Israeli occupation on night, ignoring an official ban on political demonstrations, despite Scottish police urging fans to not bring Palestinian flags, threatening them with arrest. However many Celtic fans have long identified with left-wing causes, among them the Palestinian struggle. The flag of Palestine is seen flying at games the club plays, and the match with Hapoel Be'er Sheva will be no exception.When hundreds of Palestinians were on hunger strike in Israeli jails in 2012, the group unfurled a banner reading "Dignity is more precious than food.".Also  through extensive fundraising work the supporters have helped bring Palestinian youth to the UK to take part in football tournaments and cultural tours.Numerous members have also visited the occupied West Bank.
Celtic could now  face penalties from UEFA, Europe’s football governing body, for allowing the protests to go ahead, but some fans said they were prepared to pay any fine themselves to show their opposition to Israel's participation in the competition.This has got Celtic into hot water with the football authorities previously. The club was fined 16,000 pounds ($20,750) by the Union of European Football Associations ( UEFA) after fans flew Palestine flags during a game against the Icelandic side KR Reykjavik. The game took place at the same time as the Israeli army's "Protective Edge Operation in Gaza", which left more than 2,200 Palestinians and at least 73 Israelis dead.
More than 800 people joined a Facebook group titled “Fly the flag for Palestine, for Celtic, for Justice.The group’s creators called on Celtic fans to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, saying that people should express their “democratic rights to display our opposition to Israeli apartheid, settler colonialism, and countless massacres of the Palestinian people”.The Facebook group also said that UEFA should not support Israel and its policies. “When someone is representing Israeli state institutions it is sadly never merely a game; football, UEFA, and Celtic FC are being used to whitewash Israel’s true nature and give this rogue state an air of normality and acceptance it should not and cannot enjoy until its impunity ends and it is answerable to international law and faces sanctions for the countless UN resolutions it had breached,” it read.The Palestinian flag is more than a national symbol; it has taken on the mantle of a symbol of defiance in the face of colonial oppression and apartheid, it should not be a crime to wave it.
Celtic won the match 5-2 and now appear likely to qualify for the lucrative group stages of the UEFA Champions League, in which Europe's top clubs compete for the game's most sought after trophy.Much respect to the Celtic fans, thanks from the bottom of my heart for showing humanity at its best.Sending a clear message to the Palestinians that their struggle is not forgotten. Free Palestine..

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