FIFA president Gianni Infantino calls for an ‘immediate end to hostilities’ in Israel and Palestine as he claims football can be a ‘vehicle for peace’ and a ‘light of hope in the darkness’
- Gianni Infantino wrote to the president of the Israeli FA Shino Moshe Zuares
- FIFA chief condemned the ‘horrendous violence’ in Israel and Palestine
- It comes as 1.1million residents in northern Gaza are told to evacuate their homes
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has called for the ‘immediate end of hostilities’ between Israelis and Palestinians in a letter to the Israeli football association.
Infantino claimed football can be a ‘vehicle for peace’ and ‘light of hope where there appears to be only darkness ahead’ as the conflict escalates.
It is almost a week since Hamas militants stormed into Israel, leaving 1,300 people dead and thousands more injured.
More than 1,500 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched their large-scale retaliation.
Around 1.1 million people living in northern areas of the Gaza Strip have been told to evacuate within 24 hours by the Israelis ahead of a potential ground offensive.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has written to the president of the Israeli Football Association
His letter said FIFA called for the ‘immediate end of hostilities’ and ‘relief to those suffering’
Almost 3,000 people have already died in the Israel-Hamas war in both Israel and Gaza
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As reported by Sky News, in the letter to Shino Moshe Zuares, the president of the Israeli football association, Infantino called for peace.
‘I would like to express, on behalf of FIFA and the entire international football community, our deepest condolences to the Israel Football Association and the Palestine Football Association, in light of the horrendous violence that has been occurring over the past days,’ Infantino wrote.
‘It is as heart-breaking as it is shocking to see a region, whose people have known such profound suffering over far too long, suffer even more.
‘The footballing world stands firmly in solidarity with the people of Israel and Palestine, and with all the innocent victims that have paid an unspeakable price.
‘FIFA joins in calling for the immediate end of hostilities and for the immediate relief of the suffering of the people of both Israel and Palestine.
‘Of course, we know that football cannot solve the problems of the World, but it can play even a small part in bringing a light of hope where there appears to be only darkness ahead.
‘Football shows that it is possible to bring people together in an environment of mutual respect, acting as a vehicle for peace and, eventually, reconciliation, even when this may have seemed impossible to all but a few.
‘I would like to stress that FIFA will do whatever we possibly can to assist you in your relief efforts and to restoring peace and hope to your people now and into the future.’
Smoke billows from buildings in Gaza City after Israeli airstrikes struck targets this week
A Palestinian man carries a child through the rubble left by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City
Football in Israel has been suspended indefinitely while UEFA postponed the Israeli national team’s European Championship qualifiers against Switzerland and Kosovo.
UEFA said in a statement on Thursday that Sunday’s qualifier with Kosovo in Pristina cannot be played ‘because the Israeli authorities currently do not allow their national team to travel abroad.’
It came as Israel dropped flyers over northern Gaza ordering more than one million people to ‘evacuate your homes immediately’ and flee south as their efforts to eradicate the Hamas terrorist group continue.
The United Nations described the evacuation as ‘impossible’ with a Palestinian population already struggling under Israeli airstrikes and a blockade in a state of panic.
Israel’s order would involved the entire population of Gaza City to leave their homes. Hamas officials described it as ‘fake propaganda’ and insisted Palestinians should stay at home.
Water, electricity and food have already been cut off to the Gaza Strip amid warnings of a looming health and humanitarian disaster.
Rabbi Alex Goldberg told the FA that he was ‘profoundly disappointed’ with their decision
Wembley’s arch lit in yellow and blue in an expression of solidarity with Ukraine following Russia’s invasion last year, and it has also been lit up on several other occasions in recent times
It comes as the Rabbi who is chair of the Football Association’s Faith in Football group resigned from his post over the governing body’s refusal to light up the Wembley Arch in Israel’s colours.
Instead, the FA called for fans to hold a minute’s silence to ‘remember the innocent victims’ on both sides of the conflict. Players will also wear black armbands.
Rabbi Alex Goldberg said the planned measures are not enough, especially given the arch was lit up to mark the invasion of Ukraine, terror attacks in France, Pele’s death and various causes célèbres.
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