PA Arrests Palestinian for Raising Yemeni Flag at Game against Saudi

King Salman bin Abdulaziz (L) greeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: via AJE)

A Palestinian fan was detained for raising the Yemeni flag during Tuesday’s dual World Cup-Asian Cup qualifier between Saudi Arabia and Palestine.

Ahmad Al-Yumni, a 24-year-old construction worker from Hebron (Al-Khalil), was arrested by the Palestinian Authority (PA) for protesting against the war in Yemen.

The UN says at least 7,025 civilians have been killed and 11,140 injured in the fighting in Yemen since March 2015, with 65 percent of the deaths attributed to Saudi-led coalition airstrikes.

In front of a crowd estimated at 14,000, the unraveled Yemeni flag displayed the slogan “From Palestine, here is Yemen.”

Held at Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium in the town of Al-Ram on the outskirts of Jerusalem, the game was a qualifying match for both the World Cup 2022 and the Asia Cup 2023 international tournaments, and resulted in a 0-0 draw.

Kayed added that Yumni was released from Israeli prisons a year ago after being detained for two years.

The move to play and hold the match in the occupied West Bank is a break from the norms and usual process for Arab sports teams, which have for decades held games and events with Palestinian teams in a third country in order to avoid passing through Israeli checkpoints.

While the match and arrival of the Saudi delegation could well be perceived as an increase in relations between Saudi Arabia and Palestine and declared as “a pleasure for the Palestinian people” by PA President Mahmoud Abbas called, it has mostly been criticized for its effect in normalizing ties with the state of Israel.

During their trip, the Saudi team visited Al-Aqsa Mosque, traveling across the Israeli occupation’s checkpoints to do so.

The international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement released a statement last week condemning the move as being “in the context of the dangerous official normalization of the Saudi regime – along with the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and others – with Israel and the growing normal security and political relations between them, [the visit] is part of the attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause.”

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

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