Friday, July 25, 2014


Israeli football team Maccabi Haifa's game against French side Lille had to be stopped after pro-Palestinian protesters stormed the pitch.
Supporters of reportedly Turkish origin ran onto the field in the Austrian stadium where the game was played and headed for the Maccabi players, sparking ugly scenes.

One of the players is seen to trip a fan before punches were thrown. The Maccabi players - some of whom retaliated - managed to leave the field unhurt.

Maccabi Haifa denounced the attack, saying the club 'believes in co-existence, tolerance and is against violence'

A club statement given to the Jerusalem Post added: 'This didn't happen because of sport or football, it happened because we are a team which represents Israel.'

The incident comes amid fears of growing anti-Semitism in Europe at time when Israeli forces are locked in a violent conflict with militant group Hamas in Gaza.

There was rioting in Paris at the weekend when a synagogue and Jewish-owned businesses were attacked during a pro-Palestinian rally.

Meanwhile, murderous slogans dating back to the days of Hitler have been chanted at similar events in Germany.

The Israeli ambassador to Germany, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, said this week: ‘They pursue the Jews in the streets of Berlin… as if we were in 1938.’

During the football match fight yesterday, banners calling for the liberation of Palestine were displayed by certain sections of the crowd.

Lille said on its Twitter feed that the referee called a halt to the game after a group of youths, waving Palestinian flags and placards, ran onto the pitch with just three minutes of the game left.

After a series of brief scuffles, the protestors were led away by security officers with the French side 2-0 ahead at the time.

Allon Sinai, a sports journalist for the Jerusalem Post, wrote: 'Punches and profanities were exchanged between the handful of youngsters, who waved Palestinian and Turkish flags throughout the match, and the Haifa players, who were mainly stunned by the scenes.

'The security stewards on hand were slow to react, but ultimately the situation calmed down, with several of the protesters being escorted out of the stadium and the Haifa players leaving the pitch unscathed.'

Israel is currently engaged in hostilities with Hamas, a militant group that runs the Gaza Strip.

Last month UEFA announced that Israeli clubs could not host European matches due to the 'unrest' in Israel.

No comments: