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Asian Soccer Tournament Is Field Of Dreams For Palestine's Players - Yahoo News

Every time Palestinian players travel abroad to a match, their exit and reentry is dependent on Israeli approval.Of the 23-man squad traveling to Australia, all but six live in the Palestinian territories. In 2007, the Palestinian team was forced to forfeit a World Cup qualifier match when Israel prevented their travel to Singapore. Abu Jazar has only been back tohis city of Khan Younis in Gaza three times since 2009 for fear of not being able to return to his West Bank club,which pays a salary thatallows him to support his large family back home. Gaza was once teeming with talented players like Abu Jazar.Then camethe 2007 Hamas takeover that cut off the territory from the West Bank, which is ruled by Fatah , the dominant Palestinian party, and led to harsher Israeli restrictions on Gaza. "Before the [Hamas-Fatah rift], sport in Gaza was high and quality was fantastic," says Abu Jazar. After 2007, "every time there was a tournament arranged, there was either a war with Israel or between factions." Even today, it is often difficult for players from the two territories to play together on a regular basis.Last summers Gaza warkilled at least six soccer players as well as the former head coach and some other officials, and demolished the house of assistant coach Saeb Jundiyeh. Trapped in Gaza, Mr. Jundiyeh and others watched from afar as the team, with only 14 players in the squad, competed last September in a four-nation tournament in the Philippines.
Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/asian-soccer-tournament-field-dreams-palestines-players-120004262.html

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