May 10 – The Palestine national team had to move their training from outside to indoors last weekend after Israeli military fired tear gas grenades from the street outside their stadium.
Training at the Faisal Al-Husseini stadium in Al-Ram, Jerusalem, the grenades were fired over the stadium stands, landing on the pitch and forcing players to move inside to complete training.
The grenades were fired at a time when there were no confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli military taking place in the vicinity.
This isn’t the first time that Israeli military have fired tear gas into stadiums where training has taken place, but follows a pattern of action when tension has been high between the two sides.
While the potential for conflict between the two sides is only ever simmering beneath the surface, the issues have been heightened in Jerusalem by the approval of the Israeli Central Court in East Jerusalem of a decision earlier this year to evict four Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in favour of Israeli settlers.
This has been a long-running dispute. Following the expulsion of Palestinians to make way for the state of Israel that began in 1948, 28 families settled in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, near Jerusalem’s walled Old City in 1956. At that time the West Bank was under Jordanian control.
For Palestinians the small settlement has been a symbol of their pride and resistance to resettlement, with a number of clashes have taken place between Palestinian protestors and Israeli police in recent days.
The Palestinian national team are currently preparing for their final two group games in the Asian Qualifiers for Qatar 2022 and the 2023 Asian Cup in China, to be played in Saudi Arabia at the beginning of June. Palestine still have to play Singapore and Yemen but are unlikely to qualify from the bottom position of a group that is headed by Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan who are five points ahead of them with a game in hand.
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