Hardly any of them though has thought of the daily impact these borders not only have on ‘normal’ citizens, but also on athletes’ lives and performances.
Jacques Rogge in person, the International Olympic Committee president, is in Tel-Aviv today, trying to mediate with the Israeli Olympic Committee and the prime minister Shimon Peres.
Used as we are to European footballers, millionaires whose status comes close to that of a demigod, hearing that Ahmed Kashkash, the captain of the Palestinian team, couldn’t play the match on Tuesday because Israeli officials wouldn’t allow him to enter the West Bank from Jordan, will sound unusual to say the least.
This can’t be a one-off problem, considering the players in the National team live in different countries and the border police can stop them at any time, thus making any sort of planning very difficult.
These issues not only affect sportsmen, but also equipment: Jibril Rajoub, the president of the Palestinian Olympic Committe, has revealed how two tonnes of material sent by Michel Platini, head of UEFA, has been blocked and held in Israel since July 2009.
In order to find a solution, Rogge is also willing to hold a meeting in Lausanne in the near future, with both Palestinian and Israeli interlocutors.
The IOC and the UEFA are not the only organizations which came in support of the Palestinians,: the mobilization also involved Seph Blatter and the International Football Federation, FIFA, which along with a donation of 720.000 € to build two stadiums in Ramallah, invited the Israeli Football Federation and the government to help the struggling Palestinian footballers.
With good intentions, money, and the Lausanne Meeting on the way, Palestinian athletes can only hope the Israeli government will give his hand too, for once.