The Aqsa Working Group (AWG), a humanitarian movement for Palestine, has rejected Israel’s participation in the under-20 soccer World Cup, which is to be held next year in Indonesia.
It comes after Israel’s national youth soccer team qualified for the semi-final of the 2022 UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Slovakia, on Saturday night.
AWG’s rejection is due to the Israeli state’s repeated violations against Palestinian rights, including barbaric attacks and acts of violence on Palestinian children and the elderly.
The Chairman of the AWG Presidium, Muhammad Anshorullah, added that the rejection is also due to the commitment of the Indonesian people, who oppose all types of colonialism, in accordance with the principles of humanity and justice, stated in the 1945 Constitution.
He further demonstrated Indonesia’s long-standing rejection of Israel, by reminding all of the former President of Indonesia, Ir. Soekarno’s bold actions in banning the Indonesian Football National Team from competing against Israel in the 1958 World Cup, despite being qualified.
In addition to this, he added, current President Joko Widodo, called on the international community to support the boycott of products produced in or by illegal Israeli settlements, at the OIC Summit in 2016.
However, according to the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Football Association of Indonesia, as politics must be separated from football sports, in line with FIFA’s consensus, all countries can participate in all FIFA tournaments, despite the host country having no bilateral relations with a participating country.
AWG condemned the Minister of Youth and Sports, Zainudin Amali’s statement, affirming that the Israeli U-20 national football team can participate in the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
“This statement of assurance is historical and contradicts the 1945 Constitution, the prohibition of President Ir. Soekarno, and the call of President Joko Widodo,” said AWG.
Moreover, AWG called on all Muslims around the world to continue their opposition against Israel’s participation in global events, in order to support the struggle of the Palestinian people in achieving freedom and independence, including the liberation of the Al-Aqsa mosque.
It wrote, “We call on Muslims around the world to immediately take action against Israel in a real and concrete way, in every participation of Israel in the world arena, and support the end of the brutal actions of the Israeli Zionist army in carrying out the occupation of the Palestinians.”
Apart from the Israeli team, the French, Italian, and English U-20 national football teams have also sealed their place in the U-20 World Cup. As the World Cup host, Indonesia automatically qualified to participate in the tournament.