Zamalek invites Palestinian PM to football match

Daily Star Egypt Staff
3 Min Read

CAIRO: Zamalek football club has invited Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya to attend the upcoming clash with city rivals Ahly and promised to donate part of the proceeds to the Palestinian people, club officials said Wednesday. The Zamalek club has invited Prime Minister Haniya to attend Sunday s match between Ahly and Zamalek, club official Khaled Latif told AFP. He said the soccer fanatic premier had thanked the club for the invitation but was unable to immediately confirm his presence. Haniya has been issuing pleas for financial assistance since the West decided to boycott his Islamist movement and cut aid until it recognized Israel s right to exist. Latif said the club – whose players are nicknamed the White Knights – would hold a meeting later Wednesday to decide what proportion of the proceeds would be donated to the Palestinians. He did not specify how the money would be paid. The hotly contested game between Zamalek and archrivals Ahly is expected to fill the 75,000-seat Cairo stadium and generate between LE 700,000 and LE 900,000 ($121,000 to $156,000) in proceeds. In the 1980s, Haniya himself was a playmaker for Al-Shati, a team based in a Gaza refugee camp which was regarded as one of the best Palestinian outfits at the time. Sources in Haniya s entourage in Gaza said the prime minister needed to consult the Egyptian government before deciding to attend the game, in what would be his first trip abroad since taking the helm in February. AFP

“Deploying thousands of police to smother these protests shows all too clearly that President Mubarak has zero tolerance for peaceful dissent, says Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch. “This is a government that intimidates voters to obtain the parliamentary majority it needs to renew an Emergency Law, which it then uses to silence those who protest election fraud.

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