Israeli, Palestinian Fans Celebrate Morocco’s World Cup Win
by i24 News
i24 News – Bringing Israelis and Palestinians closer together, even if only for a few minutes. Something the greatest statesmen in the world haven’t been able to do, but 11 soccer players on a pitch in Qatar did.
Morocco’s shock 1-0 victory over Portugal in the World Cup quarter-final sparked major celebrations in the Arab world, and not only there.
“I want to congratulate the beloved Moroccan team that has raised the heads of all Arabs. Congratulations from the Gaza Strip,” applauded fan Mohammed Toteh. “We send you our love and our respect and we hope that you will win the World Cup.”
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, east Jerusalem, the West Bank all were unable to contain their joy. Celebrations, which included fireworks, lasted long into the night.
“Long live Morocco, a free Arab state,” said Gaza resident Ibrahim Layli. “From Gaza I can say this is a victory for all the Arabs. We will chant in your support with our blood and our souls.”
Celebrations in Gaza usually aren’t matched across the divide, in Israel. But this time it was different.
Over 10 percent of Israeli Jews are of Moroccan origin. For many fans, their happiness at the result matched anything seen in the Arab world.
“We are so happy to take part in this celebration of Morocco,” said one fan in Tel Aviv. “God willing, they will make it to the final. We are celebrating with you. We want you to win, it’s time you won.”
But the celebrations weren’t always peaceful. There were clashes in various places, notably France, where relations between the state and Moroccan immigrants are often tense.
The street violence may just be a preview of what might be expected on Wednesday, when Morocco and France face each other in the semifinal. Whatever the result of that game, there will likely be huge consequences – played out afterwards on the street of Paris.