WATCH: Palestinians thank Celtic fans as they raise over £36,000 in face of Uefa fine threat

Palestinians send video message expressing “love” for Glasgow football team

CELTIC FANS have raised over £36,000 for Palestinian causes in response to disciplinary action being taken by the Union of European Football Associations (Uefa) against Celtic after fans waved Palestinian flags at a recent game against Israeli side Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

Celtic supporters club the Green Brigade established the crowdfund, calling initially for £15,000, the amount of a previous fine enforced on Celtic by Uefa, pledging that the crowdfund would grow if an expected Uefa fine proved to be higher.

The funds are intended to match a fine which could be handed to Celtic bosses after fans defied the Europe-wide footballing authority to wave hundreds of flags and banners at last Wednesday’s (17 August) Champions League fixture with Israeli team Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

The funds are being raised for two Palestinian projects, Medical Aid for Palestine (Map) which offers medical aid for Palestinians suffering the effects of occupation, war and displacement, and the Lajee Centre in Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem which is a creative and cultural centre for refugee children.

“If we were to allow an Israeli team to come to Celtic without any challenge to Israeli policies then that normalises Israel’s war crimes.” Green Brigade

A spokesperson for the Green Brigade, an overtly political group of Celtic supporters who have repeatedly shown solidarity with the Palestinian cause among others, said the group was overjoyed with the response to its appeal for funds.

He told CommonSpace: “The response from people who have donated has been incredible, the generosity of people has been incredible, and it’s great to know the money will go to making a positive difference, and is a clear contrast to the behaviour of Uefa.”

Commenting on the relationship between politics and sport, he added: “Politics and sport have always gone hand in hand. Football does not exist in isolation from the rest of society.

“If we were to allow an Israeli team to come to Celtic without any challenge to Israeli policies then that normalises Israel’s war crimes. We needed to challenge that and show we don’t think it’s acceptable.”

The crowdfund had already raised thousands of pounds by the time Palestinian activists from the Lajee Centre had produced a video featuring Palestinians thanking Celtic supporters for their display.

Young Palestinians in the video sent messages such as “thank you for your solidarity” and “we love you Celtic”.

Responding to the video, the Green Brigade spokesperson said: “It’s incredible, it’s so heartwarming. You see how touched people were by something that really is quite a small gesture. And yet it obviously means a lot to people who are living in refugee camps, or in Gaza under Israeli fire.”

The Palestinian people were displaced by Israeli settler militias in 1948, and have suffered under decades of occupation and war since.

The tiny Gaza strip has today (22 August) been placed back under military siege by Israeli forces, with around 50 airstrikes and other attacks taking place within hours.

Celtic has stated that the club will make no statement on events until Uefa’s disciplinary proceedings have been completed.

The crowdfund on the Gofundme website had reached over £36,000 by time of publication.

Picture courtesy of YouTube

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