Israeli Police Shuts Down Palestinian Soccer Tournament in East Jerusalem

Israeli Public Security Ministry often issues closing warrants for events in East Jerusalem, claiming that they are sponsored by the Palestinian Authority

Israeli police patrolling in East Jerusalem, April 12, 2019.
Olivier Fitoussi

Israeli police shut down a soccer tournament in East Jerusalem on Friday, claiming that it was organized by the Palestinian Authority.

The tournament was taking place in the Beit Safafa neighborhood. According to an order Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, the event was marking Palestinian Prisoners' Day and was supported by the Palestinian Authority, thus violating the Oslo Agreements which prohibit PA activity in Jerusalem.

It is a policy of the Israeli Public Security Ministry to issue closing warrants for events in East Jerusalem from time to time. In the past, the police have shut down press conferences, cultural and literary events, and even kids' festivals. Last month, the police shut down a a Mother's Day event co-organized with the French Cultural Institute. In January, the police shut down an event clebrating 50 years since the founding of Al-Maqased hospital. 

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"Jerusalem is the home of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who have the right to express their collective identity," said Aviv Tatarsky, a researcher at Ir Amim organization.

"As if the case for the Israeli public, in East Jerusalem sports and culture express a national identity and political ambitions. If Erdan thinks that shutting down a soccer match is going to force Israeli sovereignity on the population, then he must not have read the Hagadah of Passover," he concluded.