It seems that sometimes our guys can’t win â€“ even when it involves a friendly game of football. A big controversy has arisen following a commercial by Israel’s largest cellular phone company, Cellcom, in which a soccer ball comes flying over the West Bank security fence and strikes an IDF jeep going by on patrol. One of the young soldiers kicks it back to the other side, and thus an impromptu game begins of kicking the back and forth with a bunch of female soldiers cheering both sides on.
In reality though, representatives of the Palestinian authority didn’t think the idea was very cute at all, especially in light of all the hardships they say that Palestinian citizens go through daily because of the “wall”. In fact they want Cellcom to stop running the commercial, and as a rebuttal, made a Youtube version of how they see the actual incident played out, when their efforts to induce the IDF soldiers to play winds up with the soldiers pitching canisters of tear gas at them instead of a football.
The timing of these incidents almost coincides with some comments made my Israeli P.M. Binyamin Netanyahu in which he said Israel has no plans whatsoever to dismantle the fence, and that it has helped prevent terror attacks from occurring during the last few years. The fact that so few attacks have taken place, probably isn’t so much attributed to the presence of the fence as it is to a change in tactics by the Palestinians, who now see that it is worth their while to refrain from such actions, especially with the new Obama Administration in Washington being more partial towards them than the previous one under George Bush. A few serious terror incidents would not be very user friendly to Mahmoud Abbas’ government in Ramallah, to say the least.
As for the two sides actually playing a real match, maybe this will actually happen one day, especially since the Palestinian national squad is now back on it’s home ground, after being located for many years in Jordan. And as a final word to this situation, playing football together is surely far better than lobbing other “missiles” over the 4 meter high wall â€“ especially Qassams.