Release of Mahmoud Sersik’s Video Message to UEFA: Do Not Side With Oppression!
Besieged Gaza, Occupied Palestine—Mahmoud Al Sersik has released a video message calling on UEFA to not allow Israel the honour of hosting the UEFA under 21 Football Championships. He reiterated his call on all international sporting bodies to acknowledge the Israeli regime’s continuous destruction of Palestinian sports infrastructure, incarceration and murder of Palestinian sports stars, as well as the six year long Siege of Gaza that denies any kind of Palestinian sports representation or development.
Mahmoud AlSersik, the Palestinian national team footballer was imprisoned for 3 years with no charge as he tried to join other Palestinian team mates in the West Bank. He was held in Israeli jails without a formal charge for over 3 years until winning his release through a 96 day hunger strike and support from international footballers like Frederic Kanoute and Eric Cantona. In this video as he wanders the remains of the destroyed Palestine Stadium in the Gaza Strip, he demands justice for Palestinian sports men and women, denied involvement in sports competitions worldwide due to the Israel illegal occupation, discrimination and siege.
“Israel doesn’t recognise us and does not allow us to play in the sporting venues where we practice our beloved sport. There is only the destruction of these facilities. As you can see this is a stadium that was completely destroyed and after all this destruction Israel gets to host the UEFA U21 Championships? Does a country that kills sportsmen and children and destroys the stadiums where we practice with such joy, deserve the honour and privilege of hosting the UEFA U21 European Championships?” said Mahmoud.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former US president Jimmy Carter and recently globally renowned scientist Stephen Hawking have all compared Israel’s subjugation of the Palestinians to South African Apartheid. We call on UEFA to join the international call for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions of Israel until it abides by international law and respects Palestinian fundamental rights, such as the right to participate in and develop their sports – just as sports bodies around the world applied to the South African Apartheid regime.
Don’t side with such oppression, reverse your decision to reward Israel for its policies of destroying our sports infrastructure and sporting life. We urge you to cancel Israel’s hosting of the Under 21 European Football Championships in June
Ps. The video is produced by the Gaza-based One Democratic State Group (odsg.org/co). To see Mahmoud’s video message visit http://vimeo.com/66776199