FIFA on Gaza air strikes
Last week I wrote about a series of powerful Israeli F-16 airstrikes against Gaza City that shocked us awake, rattling our windows and leaving our ears ringing. One of these attacks was against a soccer field in the middle of Gaza City just two streets down from where I live. The bomb left an enormous crater in the middle of the stadium (one of Gaza's best and only stadiums), which is located in the middle of a denseley populated residential neighborhood.
Now, FIFA-the world's football association, is effectively condemning the attack, saying it was "without reason".
"[T]he field was not being used by Palestinians as a missile launching pad, as Israel's ambassador to Switzerland had claimed," said Jerome Champagne, FIFA deputy general secretary in charge of political issues
"FIFA has been fighting for more than a century to make this game universal. To hit a football field is really the wrong signal....[F]ootball should remain outside of politics..."
The Israeli army had said the air strike-the first by a fighter jet in Gaza City in several years-was part of an effort "to deter possible attacks after an increase in rocket launches from Gaza" (So let me see if I got this straight-since the whole starving Palestinians thing isn't working, now the Israeli army turns to destroying football stadiums? So Palestinians, enraged at finding it difficult to play a proper football match with a gaping hole in the ground, plead with armed groups to stop firing rockets, and they politely oblige? yes, likely scenario, "let's get them where it hurts". who thinks this stuff up anyway?).
Champagne has taken the matter up with FIFA president Sepp Blatter and the two will anounce a "decision" next week.
Not that it will have much consequence, but at least someone (FIFA of them all) is taking notice of an increasingly ignored situation in Gaza, and the disproportionality and immorality of Israeli "reprisals" against the civilian population.
Well, at least this way, if we starve, we'll always have football.