Celtic (Scottish football club) fans have raised more than £100,000 for Palestinian charities in an attempt to match an impending Uefa fine for displaying Palestinian flags at a match against an Israeli team.
European football’s governing body began disciplinary proceedings against the Glasgow club last week after a number of fans displayed the flags during their 5-2 home victory against Hapoel Be’er Sheva in a Champions League qualifier.
The return leg is due to be played in Israel on Tuesday night.
The Green Brigade group of supporters set up an appeal on the gofundme website on Sunday to match the anticipated fine, and donations passed £80,000 on Tuesday morning.
The fans are raising money for Medical Aid Palestine, which delivers health and medical care to those “worst affected by conflict, occupation and displacement”, and the Lajee Centre, a cultural and sports project for children in Aida refugee camp, in Bethlehem.
The appeal read: “At the Champions League match with Hapoel Be’er Sheva on 17 August 2016, the Green Brigade and fans throughout Celtic Park flew the flag for Palestine. This act of solidarity has earned Celtic respect and acclaim throughout the world. It has also attracted a disciplinary charge from Uefa, which deems the Palestinian flag to be an ‘illicit banner’.
“In response to this petty and politically partisan act by European football’s governing body, we are determined to make a positive contribution to the game and today launch a campaign to #matchthefineforpalestine.”
The statement said the money raised would help buy football kit and equipment to enable the refugee camp to have a team, which would be called Aida Celtic, in the Bethlehem youth league.
Celtic face their ninth Uefa punishment for supporter behaviour in five years when the case is heard on 22 September. Two years ago the club was fined more than £15,000 after a Palestinian flag was displayed at a Champions League qualifier against KR Reykjavik.
Uefa rules forbid the use of “gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature”.
A boy writes the names of Palestinian children killed by Israel since the start of their latest assault on Gaza, during a demonstration in Aida Refugee Camp near Bethlehem. (Photo: Musa Al-Shaer via SMPalestine)
Late in the afternoon on September 25th, 9-year-old Said Jabar was detained during clashes by Israeli soldiers along with an 11-year-old neighbor, less than 100 meters from his home in Aida Refugee Camp. Said is developmentally delayed. Soldiers took him by the arm, keeping him in their custody for more than half an hour. Said’s mother and aunt had to approach the military and ask for them to let him go. He wet his pants before they released him and was not able to recount his experience to me.
The psychological afflictions of Israeli occupation in Palestine are perhaps the most pernicious for its children, who for much of their lives, cannot differentiate between concrete and abstract reasoning; bad things that happen to them are internalized and applied to their self concept. They see Gaza and wonder if their home will be bombed. Post traumatic stress symptoms show up early in some and are compounded as friends and family experience violence, detention and torture. They see that arrest is not always based on resistance. Why wouldn’t the military come for them? Every two-year-old I know here can say ‘soldiers’ and 'shoot’ in Arabic. Five-year-olds can break down the details of occupation with remarkable ease. Some of the most essential concepts about oppression that took time for me understand are consistantly echoed by the kids I encounter. Said’s favorite activity is riding his bicycle. He has four sisters and two brothers. He’s quiet and maintains an almost perpetual soft smile, like the one pictured here. via Kelly Lynn
[SHOCKING: Israeli Police Officer Threatens to ‘Gas’ Palestinians to Death]
“We will gas you until you die – your families, your sisters, your children, everyone.” – Israeli border police officer to Palestinians in the Aida refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. PS.
The officer has been suspended but the operation and occupation is still going on.