The Israeli offensive on Gaza has claimed the lives of 26,706 civilians, including 11,422 infants and children. Ninety percent of Palestinians are internally displaced and living in inhumane conditions with “no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel.” No functional hospitals. No mosques. No churches. No libraries. No schools. No universities. No bakeries. At this rate, the brutal Israeli regime will soon destroy every aspect of life in Gaza, including its sports.
With a few notable exceptions, our governments and elected representatives continue to toe the official line of Israel – even increasing diplomatic, financial and military support to it despite countless violations of international laws, international humanitarian laws, and UN resolutions. The International Olympic Committee, FIFA, UEFA, FIBA, and other sports organisations are complicit as they allow a continuous participation of the occupying apartheid regime in their events. Following a swift response and an instant suspension of Russia, it is now difficult for them to justify turning a blind eye to the Israeli government’s actions.
We must however take heart from history and support the liberation of Palestine as generations before us brought apartheid to an end in South Africa. That struggle took on all possible dimensions, with one of the earliest being suspension of sporting ties – which aided in peacefully isolating the South African regime, demonstrated a global rejection of apartheid and changed domestic perspectives in the country.
This act must now be extended to Israel – not only due to its practice of settler-colonialism, military occupation, ethnic cleansing, genocide, apartheid and illegal exploitation of natural resources on occupied territories – but also due to its brutal assault on cultural, academic and sporting life of the Palestinian society.
We thus urgently demand:
An immediate suspension of Israel from participation in all international sports until it fully complies with international law and sports regulations
For global and European sports governing bodies to immediately uphold their statutory obligations – especially their own rules on human rights and non-discrimination given Russian, South African and other precedents. This would include, inter alia, a ban on Israel competing at the 2024 Paris Olympics, UEFA’s European Championship and FIFA’s World Cup.
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Our long-term vision
We repeat our call for the creation of a parallel peace process under the auspices of the United Nations for a just resolution of wars in Gaza, as well as in Ukraine.
Consistent with DiEM25’s internationalist, humanist principles of non-discrimination, equality before the law, diversity, and freedom of movement, we believe that the only long-term settlement requires progressives from both sides, Israelis and Palestinians, to work together toward a Single Democratic Secular State in the land of historic Palestine for Jews and Palestinians.
For more on our stance, please review our position paper.
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