Saudi Arabia’s national football team is scheduled to arrive in the occupied West Bank to face the Palestinian team for the first time on 15 October.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced the upcoming visit during the meeting of his Fatah party’s central committee in Ramallah.
The match will be held in the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis in the Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium.
Abbas added that this will be the first time in which the Saudi team will attend. “We warmly welcome the first Saudi team to come to our country to play on Palestinian land,” in the double Asian eliminations qualifier for the Asia and World Cups.
“This is the first time that a Saudi football team will come. We send our warmest regard to Saudi Arabia and King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and his Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman for this great gesture.”
“We salute them for this blessing and the Saudi football team will be a dear guest in our steadfast land, the land of Palestine.
Last week, Israel refused to let players from Gaza-based team Khadamat Rafah Club travel a few kilometres to play Nablus’s FC Balata in a Palestine Cup final rematch that was due to take place in the central occupied West Bank.
Israel denied travel permits for 23 of 35 members of the Gaza club’s team. The permits of only five players were approved.
The winner of Wednesday’s game between the Gaza and West Bank Cup holders would have represented Palestine in the Asian Champions League, a qualifier for the FIFA Club World Cup.
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med) expressed its deep regret over the Israeli District Court’s approval of the Israel Security Agency’s (ISA) decision to deny the players’ travel permits.
The Geneva-based organisation said in a statement that the Israeli government exploits the judicial authority to bar Palestinian football matches. The organisation has noted that such procedures constitute an unjustified violation of the basic human rights guaranteed under international law.
The Palestinian football team is a FIFA-sanctioned club.