Israel Confiscates Olympics Athletes’ Equipment and Uniforms

Palestine at at the Rio Olympics, 2016. (Photo: via The New Arab)

Palestine’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) has declared that Israeli authorities have withheld the Palestinian 2016 Olympic team’s uniforms and equipment, forcing participants to travel to Brazil without its gear.

Secretary-General of the Palestinian NOC, Munther Masalmeh, stated that the gear has not cleared customs yet.

An Olympic official said Israel had been holding the equipment, mostly donated to the Palestinians by foreign governments, demanding payment of taxes or entry fees and sometimes under claims of security.

He stated: “We got one shipment several months ago and we have not been able to bring it in,” adding, “We were forced to travel without our equipment and to buy them instead in Brazil.”

Palestine’s athletes headed for the Rio 2016 Olympics include two swimmers, two runners, a judoka and a dressage rider.

Mayada Sayyad has qualified to the 2016 Olympic marathon, while Christian Zimmerman booked his spot at the dressage riding event.

Swimmers Mary Al-Atrash and Ahmed Gebrel were granted Universality Tickets to the 50-meter freestyle and 200-meter freestyle races.

Simon Yaacoub was invited to compete in the extra-lightweight category at the judo tournament and Mohammed Abu Khoussa will run in the 100-meter sprints.

Israeli authorities have made a habit of intruding on Palestinian sports. The Palestinian NOC’s official website includes a report titled “Israeli Occupation Transgressions against Palestinian Sports,” which illustrates a series of unexplained detentions of the national team, athletes and sports personnel.

Palestine has previously asked the football governing body FIFA to ban Israel for hindering the movement of Palestinian athletes based on alleged security reasons. These efforts were unsuccessful.

(PC, Al-Jazeera)

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  1. But there is no country called Palestine yet. How do they want to represent a none existing country. As long as there isn’t a country called Palestine, they can’t represent it. At this moment the world recognised the Palestinian flag.

      • Just to set the record straight, Palestinians had a country before Israel was created. So, to say there is no Palestine is historically incorrect. It is a country that has been occupied for almost fifty years. Also, the number of Palestinians is not 5.5 billion but 5.5 million.

  2. The 5.5 billion referenced is the combined population of the 136 nations that recognize the State of Palestine.

    If the legal right of refugees to return from the diaspora were to be upheld, this would also add another 6 million at least.

    Yeah, I know, the idea of international law being applied to the Golden Calf squatting in Palestine seems impossible, the day will come, likely sooner than anyone thinks.

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