INDEPENDENT NEWS

Call To Ban Apartheid Israel From The 2024 Paris Olympics

Published: Thu 14 Mar 2024 03:34 PM
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa has written to the New Zealand Olympic Committee urging it to join the international campaign for apartheid Israel to be banned from the 2024 Paris Olympics (26 July to 11 August)
Horrendous Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people of Gaza and the apartheid system which discriminates against every Palestinian who lives “between the river and the sea” is behind the call which comes as a demand from more than 300 Palestinian sports clubs and civil society organizations.
There is no place for genocide or apartheid in the Olympics.Suspension and expulsion of apartheid South Africa from the Olympic movement
There is plenty of precedent for a country to be expelled from the Olympic Games with the most relevant being the suspension of apartheid South Africa from participation in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and its expulsion from the IOC altogether in 1970.
Israel similarly runs an apartheid system against Palestinians which prevents the large majority of Palestinians, who live under Israeli military occupation in the occupied West Bank, occupied Gaza and occupied East Jerusalem, from fair and reasonable opportunities to participate in international sport.
Just to be clear, Israel’s apartheid system has been described in detail in investigations by the largest and most credible international human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Within Israel itself the largest and most respected human rights organisation, B’Tselem, has described Israel as A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid.Suspension of Israel must follow suspension of Russia from the Paris Olympics
On July 13, 2023, the IOC announced Russia would not receive a formal invitation to participate in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris because of the country’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine. Israel is guilty of much greater destruction and slaughter in its genocidal rampage through Gaza.
Just as Russia has been barred from Paris – Israel must be barred also. Basic fairness and justice demand it.Israeli war crimes in Gaza
Since October 2023, Israel has been conducting a war of genocidal proportions against 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza. More than 31,000 Palestinians have been killed – the majority being women and children – while over 70,000 have been seriously injured. Meanwhile Israel is denying Palestinians in Gaza essential and desperately needed humanitarian aid and has used “starvation as a weapon of war.”
On 26 January the International Court of Justice (ICJ) declared there is a plausible case that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza. Since then the situation has worsened with at least 1,800 more Palestinians killed and the Israeli military choking off food supplies and famine breaking out across Gaza.Israel targets Palestinian sports and sportspeople
Israel has deliberately targeted Palestinian sports and blatantly violates the right of Palestinians to practice sports. As well as the apartheid laws which make it extremely difficult for Palestinians to take part in sport under the Israeli occupation, Israeli troops have casualised the killing and maiming of Palestinian sportspeople.
Israeli occupation forces have shot at Palestinian athletes to deliberately kill or maim them. In Gaza, Israel has killed the Palestinian Olympic football coach, Hani Al Masdar, and destroyed the office of the Palestinian Olympic Committee.
Israeli settlement-based sports clubs and stadiums are built on stolen Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank in violation of international law. Israel has bombed Palestinian stadiums, raided sports clubs, obstructed matches, confiscated sports equipment, and denied Palestinian athletes their right to freedom of movement.
Israel could not be more in contrast with the spirit and values espoused by the Olympic movement.
Our New Zealand Olympic Committee has a dreadful history of support for apartheid South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. This was the reason a motion was moved to expel New Zealand from the 1976 Montreal Olympics. The motion failed but as a result 29 African and Caribbean countries boycotted the Montreal games because New Zealand was taking part.
It’s time to make amends. The New Zealand Olympic Committee must to vote for apartheid Israel to be banned from the 2024 Paris Olympics.

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