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Chilean football club sparks Israeli outrage with pro-Palestinian uniform

10th Jan 2014

A Chilean football club has sparked debate over its new jerseys, in which the number “1” is replaced by an outline of pre-1948 Palestine, angering Israel which demanded the uniform’s removal, local media reported.

Club Deportivo Palestino, a first division football club created in 1920 by Palestinian immigrants, revealed on Saturday its 2014 uniform, on which the geographical outline of Palestine can be seen.

View image on Twitter

Ayer, equipo de fútbol Palestino mostrando Territorio Histórico de en su camiseta. Notable!!!

Yesterday, the Palestino football team revealed the historical territory of Palestine on its jersey. Remarkable!

 

Chilean newspaper La Nacion reported on Tuesday that the Israeli foreign ministry had contacted the Chilean embassy to express its discontent over the football club’s move.

According to a statement by the Israeli embassy in Chile, the Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director General for Latin America Itzhak Shoham called the map a “provocation.”

The statement relayed Shoham’s “hope to avoid anti-Israeli provocations such as presenting a map in which the state of Israel appears as part of Palestinian territories, with the evident intention of denying the existence of Israel.”

Shoham added that “while Israel is determined to generate a positive step towards a two-state solution, it seems inappropriate to use sport for political ends.”

The former president of the Jewish Community of Chile (CJCh) Gabriel Zaliasnik reacted to the news on Twitter and accused CD Palestino of “importing” the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, saying the uniform controversy was a sign of “hate and fanaticism.”

 

Gabriel Zaliasnik          @gzaliasnik    Follow

Hay que ponerle cascabel al gato. Vergonzoso q dirigencia de Palestino ensucie futbol chileno. El odio y el fanatismo no tienen limite.

We have to be forward. It is shameful that the leadership of Palestino is tarnishing Chilean football. Hate and fanaticism don’t have limits.

 

Gabriel Zaliasnik          @gzaliasnik    Follow

Aqui tema es otro: la responsabilidad con q deben actuar lideres d cada comunidad y sus instituciones. Importar conflictos es irresponsable

The issue here is different: The responsibility that leaders of each community and their institutions must show. Importing conflicts is irresponsible.

 

On Monday, CJCh Executive Director Marcelo Isaacson demanded a public apology from CD Palestino, removal of the jerseys and sanctions from the Chilean National Association of Professional Football (ANFP) and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).

Isaacson argued that the jerseys were an “act that affects the dignity of spectators at a sporting event and a use of the sport as a platform of political demands,” Chilean newspaper La Nacion reported.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Federation of Chile expressed its support of the football club in a statement released on Tuesday.

“We deplore the hypocrisy of those who express outrage at the presence of this map, as they talk about the occupied territories,” the statement read. “We deeply regret that Chilean Zionists seek to import the Middle East conflict to our country” by “tarnishing the history and the fundamental contribution that CD Palestino has made to the development of this sport in our country.”

The federation also expressed its thanks to Chilean nationals, “and especially the Jews of our country,” who have spoken out in solidarity with the football team.

Chile is home to the largest Palestinian population outside of the Middle East, with an estimated 500,000 citizens of Palestinian origin.

(Al-Akhbar)

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