The Murder of a Midfield General

Posted: August 3, 2014 in Liberation Footbology

Ahed Zaqout was not a military general, or any way a military man. In his day he was a midfield general on the football pitches of Palestine, but is now one more murdered Palestinian, one more statistic on the list of the innocent massacred by Israel’s war machine. The Palestinian football star was killed after an Israeli bomb struck his apartment in Gaza while he was sleeping, it has been confirmed. Emergency services rushed to the home of the former midfielder on Thursday but were unable to save his life.

AhedA

Zaqout had recently been working as a coach and as host of a Palestine sports programme in Gaza. Khaled Zaher, a Gaza sports journalist told Reuters: “Palestine has lost one of its best players, he may have been the best midfielder we ever had.”

20 years ago he was in his prime and was a part of the Palestinian team that played a friendly against a team of French stars that included UEFA’s president Michel Platini in 1994. Four years later, the Palestine football team was accepted into FIFA.

Perhaps his death was one of those that are being celebrated on the distant hillsides by crowds of exultant Zionist onlookers, who have gathered to cheer each Israeli bomb strike like ecstatic football fans?

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Last month Mona Dabdoob, from the Palestinian Players’ Federation, presented FIFA chiefs with a dossier of restrictions and attacks from Israel on Palestinian football as they met in Brazil.

FIFA ruled out sanctions against Israel but said it would monitor the country’s alleged violations of Palestinian football, including preventing players from travelling to and from matches.

In January two young Palestinian footballers from Abu Dis FC, Jawhar Nasser Jawhar, 19, and Adam Abd al-Raouf Halabiya, 17, were reportedly shot by Israeli snipers, beaten up and had dogs set on them as they walked home after training.  Abu Dis FC play in the shadow of the Israeli apartheid wall, on a pitch where some of our own Republica Internationale FC members have played on a previous tour of Palestine with Easton Cowboys FC.
“There was no alarm, no identification or warning,” Jawhhar told  reporters. Adam said that he was shot first in the leg. As Jawhar tried to drag him to safety, he was shot repeatedly in the hand and leg — 11 times total. Adam was shot once in the knee and two times in the other leg. The teenagers told the website that as they lay screaming, Israeli forces set a dog on them.

Jawhar (let) fplaying for Abu Dis before the shooting and torture by israeli occupying forces

“They hit my head with a gun and they broke the leg with a gunshot in. They forced my leg backwards until it snapped. They were joking and laughing.” Adam said.

Israeli police maintain that the teenagers were moments away from attacking the nearby police base.

torture

After transfer to hospital in Amman the young footballers were told they would never play again.

Medical reports indicated that Jawhar was shot with 11 bullets, seven in his left foot, three in his right, and one in his left hand. Halabiya was shot once in each foot. The two were taken to Ramallah governmental hospital before being transferred to King Hussein Medical Center in Amman, where they were told they would never play again.

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On March 10 Saji Darwish, Birzeit student and player for Beitin FC, was shot dead by soldiers near the West Bank settlement of Givat Assaf, close to Ramallah. It was alleged that he was throwing stones at vehicles belonging to Israeli settlers in the area.

In response to a previous dossier of Israeli violations of Palestinian footballers’ basic rights to play football in the West Bank, which was presented to the FIFA Congress in October 2013, FIFA President Sepp Blatter predictably set up a “Task Force”. Which has so far achieved precisely nothing.

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