GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) Divided politically and geographically, Palestinians made strides toward unity with the first football match between a West Bank club and a Gaza Strip team in 15 years on Thursday.
Gaza's Shijaiyah United played Hebron's Al-Ahly to raucous cheers in a packed stadium. The match ended 0-0.
Israel restricts the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and the local league's teams were under the same limits, meaning teams from the Palestinian territories hadn't faced off for years. Israel approved Al-Ahly's entrance into Gaza following a request, according to Cogat, the Israeli defense body that handles civilian issues with the Palestinians. ...
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Kicking Back Comments: Can you imagine the pressure on this refereeing team? I've "played some tough houses" but when the venue is war torn and the number of riot police is a substantial percentage of the spectators, it give me pause ... great pause.
Kudos to this officiating team for seeing this historic match take place. Kudos also to the Israelis for allowing the movement through Gaza to make this happen.