Palestinian football fans have staged a protest against the ongoing conflict with Israel as their men’s team took on Australia in a World Cup qualifier.
The Socceroos were due to travel to Ramallah for their qualifying match on Tuesday, in what would have been the first home game played in the occupied West Bank since 2019.
However, the war between Israel and Hamas has led to the game being moved to Kuwait, with Graham Arnold’s side hoping to continue their strong start to their qualification campaign for the 2026 tournament.
Fans attending the match have staged a protest against Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip. On the seventh minute of the game, fans raised Palestinian flags to mark the start of the war on 7 October – the date of the Hamas attack inside Israel.
Protestors were also seen holding key signs during the match, which symbolosises ‘those taken during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war’, according to Al Jazeera, while others held ‘Free Gaza’ signs.
Palestine football fans protested against the ongoing Israel conflict on Tuesday
Fans raised flags and keffiyehs on the seventh minute of their game against Australia
The men’s football team wore keffiyehs as they made their way onto the pitch in Kuwait
A large Palestine flag is held aloft by supporters during their match against Australia
Further protests took place on the 75th minute to campaign against 75 years of occupation.
The two teams joined in the centre circle before kick off to share a moment of silence as the message ‘solidarity with Palestine‘ was displayed on the big screen inside Kuwait’s stadium.
The Palestinian team also wore keffiyehs – traditional headdress worn by Arab men – as they made their way onto the pitch.
It comes after their coach, Makram Daboub, said his players were ‘in a constant state of anxiety’ due to the ongoing conflict.
‘The players are in the hotel or on the bus most of the time following the news on their phones and communicating with their families,’ Daboub told the Associated Press.
‘They are in a constant state of anxiety with the continued aggression and war in Palestine.’
The Socceroos announced before the game that they will donate a portion of their match fees towards Oxfam’s humanitarian efforts in Gaza.
Kuwait was chosen by Palestine as the venue for the relocated ‘home’ fixture with the crowd expected to be significantly pro-Palestine.
Australia kicked off their campaign with a comprehensive 7-0 thrashing of Bangladesh in Melbourne while Palestine drew 0-0 with Lebanon.
But defender Harry Souttar certainly wasn’t taking anything for granted.
‘There’s no easy games of football and there’s always going to be good players no matter what level you play at,’ he said.
‘So we know we’re going to have to be on the top of our game.
Both sets of players stood in solidarity with Palestine before kick off on Tuesday
Harry Souttar opened the scoring for Australia during a scrappy first half
‘First and foremost, it’ll (the focus will) be a clean sheet really.
‘Against these teams, we know that we’re going to have more of the ball.
‘So it’s about our concentration levels because any given day you never know what could happen.’