Rami Hamadi defends Jaber’s decision to leave WBPL

National team goalkeeper Rami Hamadi has taken to social media to defend his teammate Abdallah Jaber from comments of angry fans following his move to Hapoel Hadera.

Hamadi who has been teammates with Jaber at Hilal Al-Quds as well as with the senior and U23 national teams lent his perspective on the situation which has been mischaracterised in many circles.

He posted this message to his fans on Facebook [English Translation below]:

“I speak to you today about sport, resilience, and remaining. 

It hurt me to see the abuse that my friend Abdallah Jaber endured on Facebook and other social media platforms after he chose to leave the Palestinian League [WBPL] to play on the other side of the Green Line. Abdallah has reiterated many a time that he would not represent another national team and his loyalty to Palestine’s national team throughout the years is unquestioned. So it came as a surprise to see many people ignorant of the reality of Palestinians on the other side of the Green Line.

As a member of this community myself, I can tell you that we are besieged from all sides- politically, socially, and economically. Despite this difficult reality, it has not stopped our community from figuring out the equation of how to remain on our land and stay loyal to our nation, Palestine. 

For example, we have done all in our power to pursue educational endeavours and one need not look further than the Israeli healthcare system which is totally dependent on the presence of proud Palestinian doctors and nurses. 

Our engineers have fought to prove their creativity and brilliance and are an important part of the technology sector. They have done this without compromising their principles or their loyalty. 

In sports, many a Palestinian player has proven himself at the highest level in the domestic league. They have proved their worth and ability despite having to endure racist taunting from fascistic audiences. 

Brothers and sisters, please take a moment to imagine how difficult it is for a Palestinian player to play in Teddy Stadium- the stronghold of the racist team Beitar Jerusalem. Despite the challenges, we as athletes have chosen to persevere because this is our land and on our land we shall remain. 

I ask the fans to support any Palestinian athlete no matter where he or she may be. Please remember that the Palestinian national team is the team of all Palestinians. The fans on this side of the Green Line are some of the biggest supporters of the national team and are just as passionate as any other Palestine fan in the world. 

I am Rami Hamadi son of Shefa-Amr, Haifa, and Jaffa. Son of Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Nablus, Jenin, and Gaza. Son of Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Hebron. Son of Jerusalem. Goalkeeper of Al-Fida’i.” 

Several Israeli outlets have misreported the facts about Abdallah Jaber claiming he has been kicked off the national team or that he has received death threats. While many fans of Palestinian football are upset with the decision, there are also many Palestinians that have congratulated him on the move. The mischaracterisation of the response has been used to paint Israeli society in a positive light.

The player’s former club- Hilal Al-Quds- who failed to pay wages of their players for the last five months, have not issued a statement on the matter. The Palestine Football Association has also yet to comment on the matter.

While it has been an unwritten rule not to call up Palestinians playing in Israeli leagues, the PFA stance has softened in recent months.

 In March 2019, Omar Nahfawi of Maccabi Ahi Nazareth played for the Olympic team in Tokyo 2020 qualifying. In November 2019, Hapoel Nof HaGalil youth teamer Reebal Dahamseh was a key player for Palestine in their quest to qualify for the 2021 U20 World Cup. Dahamseh also received three senior team caps in January against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Burundi.