Israel arrested almost all members of the Nabi Saleh football club.
Nabi Saleh, situated near the West Bank city of Ramallah, was forced to withdraw its football club from local tournaments due to Israel's recent arrest of 17 of its players.
The football club of Nabi Saleh has been active since the 1970s. Its members are under 18 years old.
Mohammad Tamimi, a resident of Nabi Saleh, explained that most of the players were arrested during Israeli army night raids on the village. Three were detained at border crossings.
Israel has a longstanding history of sabotaging Nabi Saleh’s Football Club. As a part of the occupation’s overarching assault on the village, Israeli forces routinely arrest, interrogate, assault and harass football players.
Last week, three Nabi Saleh players could not participate in football tournaments due to injuries they sustained by tear gas canisters.
The village is asking FIFA to respond to the arrests and pressure the Israeli government to release its players.
Nabi Saleh’s plea joins the Palestine Football Association’s efforts to convince FIFA to boycott the Israeli Football Association in light of the severe limitations Palestinian players contend with under Israeli occupation. However, such efforts have been so far unsuccessful.
The village’s other clubs face similar obstacles. Tamimi attested that Israeli forces recently arrested three members of Nabi Saleh’s theater group at the border when they returned to Palestine from France.