A recent article in a Palestinian Authority-based newspaper accused Israel of deliberately inviting sports stars it knows PA Arabs love in order to upset them.
The article appeared in the sports section of the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on July 1. It was translated and published on the website of the Palestinian Media Watch research institute.
The article accuses none other than Israeli President Shimon Peres, usually viewed as a supporter of the PA, as the “tip of triangle of destruction,” since the Peres Center for Peace is the institution which initiates the visits of these stars.
As part of the Peres Center for Peace’s activities to promote coexistence between Israelis and Arabs, Peace Matches are held where mixed Israeli-Palestinian football teams play against top international teams like Real Madrid and others.
“’Israel’ aims its poisoned arrows with great accuracy at the heart of every sports star who enters the hearts of Palestinians and Muslim Arabs,” says the article, written by Wasfi Shahwan.
“It is clear that Israel is able to invent ploys and set traps in order to attract the Arabs’ favorite international football stars... to cause frustration to the Palestinians... Since our enemy is shrewd, it is well aware of how the Spanish [football] League is admired by Palestinians and Arabs; therefore, it continues to target the stars of the outstanding Spanish League...” continues Shahwan.
The writer goes on to attack the Peres Center for Peace for “spewing its poison in the faces of the Palestinians.” He adds that the visits of the international sports stars to Israel are anti-Palestinian activities.
For example, he writes, “[Argentinian football player] Maradona, who is incapable of standing on principle or sustaining a position... was one of the first athletes to don a skullcap and pray at the Al-Buraq Wall (i.e., the Western Wall)...”
“The 'War of Stars' is made up of dirty campaigns which the Zionist machine carries out against Palestinian sports, aided by all the celebrities of the world’s sports sector, after it identifies them as being ignorant of anything related to the Palestinian cause, or having a bias in favor of the colonialist state,” the article says.
“Jose Mourinho, the current manager of Real Madrid, visited the Zionist entity in 2005, as manager [and coach] of Chelsea, champion of the English League. He said then that he had come to ‘Israel’ in order to prove that football brings hope, and to aid the efforts of the Shimon Peres Center to create a better world through the establishment of mixed Palestinian and ‘Israeli’ teams...”
PMW noted that the article also includes general hate speech such as referring to Israel as “the Zionist entity,” writing that “the Zionist octopus’ arms reach out in every direction,” and placing the words Israel and Tel Aviv throughout the article in quotation marks as an indicator that the PA does not recognize Israel.