Club Deportivo Palestino were ordered to change their new kit which featured the geographical out line of pre 1946 Palestine as replacements for all the No1s.
Elham Asaad Buaras
A Chilean football club been fined for wearing a shirt which outlines pre-1948 Palestine, after Israeli and Jewish community leaders lobbied for its removal.
Club Deportivo Palestino, a first division football club created in 1920 by Palestinian immigrants, revealed on January 4 its 2014 uniform, on which the geographical outline of Palestine replace all the No1s.
On January 20, the Chilean FA fined the club $1,300 and ruled that the team must redesign the uniforms to include numerals for player numbers.
The ANFP said it had decided to punish the Palestine team because it was opposed to “any form of political, religious, sexual, ethnic, social or racial discrimination.”
On January 8 the Israeli foreign ministry had contacted the Chilean embassy to express its discontent over the football club’s move.
Israel Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director General for Latin America, Itzhak Shoham, called the map a “provocation.”
The statement relayed Shoham’s “hope to avoid anti-Israeli provocations such as presenting a map in which the state of Israel appears as part of Palestinian territories, with the evident intention of denying the existence of Israel.”
Shoham added that “while Israel is determined to generate a positive step towards a two-state solution, it seems inappropriate to use sport for political ends.”
The former president of the Jewish Community of Chile (CJCh), Gabriel Zaliasnik, reacted to the news on Twitter and accused the club of “importing” the conflict, saying the uniform controversy was a sign of “hate and fanaticism.”
CJCh Executive Director, Marcelo Isaacson, who demanded a public apology from CD Palestino and the removal of the jerseys and sanctions from both the Chilean FA and FIFA argued that the shirt was an “act that affects the dignity of spectators at a sporting event and a use of the sport as a platform of political demands.”
The Palestinian Federation of Chile expressed its support of the football club and accused those of complaining of “hypocrisy”.
“We deplore the hypocrisy of those who express outrage at the presence of this map, as they talk about the occupied territories,” the statement read.
“We deeply regret that Chilean Zionists seek to import the Middle East conflict to our country” by “tarnishing the history and the fundamental contribution that CD Palestino has made to the development of this sport in our country.”
The Federation also expressed its thanks to Chilean nationals, “and especially the Jews of our country,” who have spoken out in solidarity with the football team.
Chile is home to the largest Palestinian population outside of the Middle East, with an estimated 500,000 citizens of Palestinian origin.