The Palestinian Under 19 football team visit to the UK in September is no longer going to take place as the British Consulate in Jerusalem has refused to grant visas to the entire team and coaches.
The British Government, in a decision apparently taken at a senior level, have refused entry visas to the entire team. Although they will not provide reasons in writing, they say the decision was taken because the economic situation in Gaza, where the majority of the team are based, is so bad that they do not believe that the Palestinians will return home again. They deny taking the decision for any politically motivated reason, although they did say at one point that it was because the Israelis would not allow them to return - and so would create a refugee issue, but they have since denied this.
The team posed no threat and the tour was intended to provide support to a team of boys and young men who would have no other opportunity to play in real football stadiums. At the same time as the Palestinian team is denied access to the UK, the Israel national team will be playing a European Cup qualifier against England at Wembley on September 8th. To find the latest news on this situation and the addresses of those you can contact to raise your concerns about this decision visit www.palestinecampaign.org