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Palestinian children write to UN pleading for return of soccer ball
Published Saturday 04/01/2014 (updated) 05/01/2014 22:38
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BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A group of children in a Palestinian village south of Tulkarem have taken the unprecedented step of writing a letter directly to the United Nations in a bold attempt to win back their soccer ball from Israeli occupation authorities.

The children in the village of Kafr Sur sent the letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon via social media, asking him to intervene after the ball fell into lands confiscated by Israeli authorities to build the separation barrier through their village.

The campaign began after a local youth named Amir was playing soccer in the village and kicked the ball too far, hitting it into an area in the village under Israeli military control and beyond barbed wire, according to municipality head Imad Zibda.

The group of children spoke to Ma'an on Saturday, explaining that the Israeli occupation had impinged on their rights by not allowing them to retrieve their ball, which had disappeared behind the barbed wire of the separation barrier.

They stressed that they have the right to play in their own lands without any restrictions. They expressed their fear that the ball would never be returned because it had fallen on the other side of the barbed wire.

They feared that all of the lands that had been confiscated from the village would suffer a similar fate, they added.

Municipality head Zibda said that Israel tells the world that the wall is necessary to protect its security, but that the reality is that Israel aims to confiscate increasing amounts of Palestinian in order to expand the areas available to Jewish settlements.

The Israeli settlement of Salit sits directly to the west of the village on land confiscated from locals.

Israel began building the separation wall in 2002, and has regularly confiscated large plots of Palestinian land in order to build the wall.

When the 435-mile barrier is complete, 85 percent of it will have been built inside the occupied West Bank.

In 2004 the International Court of Justice ruled that the separation wall was illegal and "tantamount to annexation."

More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

1 ) Maureen / Australia
05/01/2014 00:15
C'mon Israel, surely you can afford to buy your own soccer balls with some of the annual US taxpayer's $3 billion so kindly forewarded to you by Uncle Sam!

2 ) Carol Scheller / Switzerland
05/01/2014 00:23
Wouldn't it be nice if some settlement lads the same age decided to return the ball and maybe organize a friendly match ? Us oldies would do well to be confounded by our younger ones ...

3 ) Camilla / Windsor, GB
05/01/2014 00:51
Bravo to the young people of Kafr Sur (Sth Tulkarem) for taking the initiative and writing to Secretary General Ban Ki Moon at the UN. I hope he responds and that they get their ball back & their land. This is the way forward, teach the children how to assert their rights using all legal channels available to them. Of course, typical mean Zionist Occupation, keeping the children's ball, so that they can't play football. Obviously jealous because the Palestinian children are better at football!

4 ) AK / UK
05/01/2014 01:58
It must have been the young man with the Real shirt who kicked the ball too far. No self respecting Barcelona supporter would have made such a mistake.

5 ) Eldad / USA
05/01/2014 02:26
Just curious - what date this this occur? Did the children ask the Israelis to return the ball, or did they decide first to make it an international incident? And were any adults involved in this stunt? Besides Ma'an, of course.

6 ) Peter / Canada
05/01/2014 05:59
Beautiful illustration of the issue. Unfortunately the UN, aside from possibly getting the ball returned, is powerless due to certain countries permanence on the Security Council... and veto: It is bizarre that political change in the US is needed to help end this evil.

7 ) Gobbi / UK
05/01/2014 07:05
I am contacting, the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, UN humanitarian chief and the UN Security Council, Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour United Nations and Humanitarian Coordinator James Rawley, The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs The International Federation for Human Rights, Defenders of Human Rights Center, Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights and see if they will all ''express concern''.

8 ) Charlie A / Sweden/Gaza
05/01/2014 07:15
Don?t those kids realise that a football is a serious threat for the security for the state of Israel?

9 ) Colin Wright / USA
05/01/2014 11:40
To Carol Scheller #2: 'Wouldn't it be nice if some settlement lads the same age decided to return the ball and maybe organize a friendly match ? Us oldies would do well to be confounded by our younger ones ...' Lol. You badly mistake the nature of Israel.

10 ) Crazee / Kashmir
05/01/2014 13:06
How dare they play football who do these kids think they are!!! Playing football can b seen as a provocation therefore is a security threat What world do these ZIONIST dogs live in!! RESISTANCE IS EXISTENCE #Team_Gaza

11 ) Stephen Marks / Poland
05/01/2014 14:18
There are no divisions in sport nor should there ever be.im sure FIFA would be only to pleased to help.kids who participate in sport are keeping away from crime and violence..A bad example has been set in this case.

12 ) Kora / Belgium
05/01/2014 17:39
@6) Peter/Canada - But even if the only thing that results here is that the kids get their ball back, it will have taught them that they have options for resolving their problems, including the right to seek legal recourse via the UN. It may be a ball, but it is important to them & this exercise serves a bigger purpose; it validates their need to be heard & recognised as equals.

13 ) Carol Scheller / Switzerland
05/01/2014 18:12
Colin, I disagree. I refuse generalizations and trust that there are individuals who see farther than the nose of their face (as well as ones who see less far) everywhere. As a teacher, I have experienced wonderful surprises from my students in difficult situations. Young people have other visions. And to my mind, it is important to encourage the far see-ers. They are fortunately in every part of the world.

14 ) MissAR / UK
05/01/2014 19:01
What I don't understand that if the courts have ruled that the wall is illegal under international rules and regulations and this decision was made in 2004, why is it 10 years on- nothing has done about this!! If this any other country without sounding extreme but if it was Syria Iraq Pakistan Libya Egypt or anywhere else where it would be in 'their interest' (the west... USA n co) to intervene they would have invaded raided and killed by now! It's very sad to know that no one is bothering!!

15 ) Josiane / France
05/01/2014 19:07
was anything hidden in the ball? who know we like to use our children to free our land. free Palestine is our main objective

16 ) Jaafar El-Murad / UK
05/01/2014 19:52
To Carol Scheller #2: I echo the comment of Colin Wright #9; he has said it in a much more restrained way than I could have.

17 ) Mel / USA
05/01/2014 21:38
I've just sent a strong complaint,with the article, to FIFA too! Reminding them at it's MORE than just a ball,or business. It's global DIPLOMACY! And what it Israel's unsporting below-the-belt actions FOULish actions mean,in principle! ISRAELI SOCCER TEAM!?! Go and take some soccer balls to these kids,if you have the MORAL balls? Small estures make BIG impact with those who have NOTHING!

18 ) Buzz / USA
05/01/2014 22:29
#14: MissAR - We would, but Israel's got nukes & Iron Dome, and not with standing the fact that AIPAC wouldn't like it. We also have a 'special relationship' with UK, so they follow us in matters of invading, raiding & killing (I think they learnt a bit about that that from their Viking forebears).

19 ) dina / Norway
06/01/2014 19:08
What is happening to the Palestinians on their own land is unfair. The International society is watching the agony and suffering of the Palestinians without moving a finger to try stop Israel from breaking the law. Our children have the right to play and return their ball. Salute yo those children.

20 ) Bert Gedin / United kingdom
06/01/2014 22:47
Israeli authorities now have an excellent opportunity to show they are not bereft of humanity, but are willing to encourage development, and enjoyment, of Palestinian children.

21 ) David Buchan / Australia
07/01/2014 03:21
When will the world wake up to the fact that Israel is not God, and needs a lesson in empathy, of which it has none.

22 ) Bustingears / USA
07/01/2014 08:40
It has nothing to do with losing the ball, it can easily be replaced. It has a lot to do with the fact that the intolerance level of the occupation has reached it's limit and beyond. Besides the illegal settlements and their illegal inhabitants, the apartheid wall, the jailing and killing and the denial of the most basic rights to live in peace.This type of behavior by the occupier will instill hatred to last a lifetime. How much longer can the world remain silent ??? Isn't 64 years enough ??

23 ) Fifi / Luxemburg
07/01/2014 15:10
RED CARD ISRAEL!! RED CARD IDF!!! Give the children the ball back NOW!

24 ) Resolved / USA
09/01/2014 22:34
The ball was returned over the fence. Situation resolved. Now, is everyone happy?

25 ) Colin Wright / USA
10/01/2014 22:54
To Carol Scheller #13: ' Young people have other visions.' Well...that's just it. You should look into the visions the Jewish children of Israel DO have. Remember how Hitler said 'I have your children'? Israel has had sixty five years to make that come true.

26 ) Colin Wright / USA
10/01/2014 22:58
To Resolved #24: 'The ball was returned over the fence. Situation resolved. Now, is everyone happy?' I wonder if that's true? It could be -- but it could equally well not be.

27 ) Eileen Seery / Ireland
11/01/2014 20:21
The children have the right to play football in their own country, on their own lands.
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