'Hizbullah' irks Israeli soccer players
By HADI YAHMID
PARIS (4 December 2006) IOL - "HIZBULLAH...HIZBULLAH" is the favorite boo of European soccer fans when their team play Israel's at EU football championships, provoking the players and reminding them of the army's defeat at the hands of the Lebanese resistance movement this summer.
European fans are using many provocative slogans against Israeli football players such as booing loudly 'Hizbullah...Hizbullah,' European supporters attending last week's UEFA Cup match between France's Paris St Germain and Israel's Hapoel Tel Aviv told IslamOnline.net Monday, December 4.
They said at first, a French fan shouts Hizbullah and waves the group's yellow flag to be followed later by hundreds of supporters," added Eksafi, a French supporter.
Banners stressing solidarity with Lebanon and the Palestinian people were also raised during the match.
The match ended 4/2 for the Israeli team.
Hizbullah has proved its mettle during the Israeli war on Lebanon this summer.
Its fighters were not easy meat during the 34-day Israeli onslaught, which killed up to 1,300 Lebanese civilians, a third of whom were children and left the country's infrastructure in tatters.
At least 123 Israeli soldiers were killed and thousands others wounded in fierce battles with well-trained Hizbullah fighters.
Hizbullah also shot down at least four Apache helicopters and destroyed one warship, a fast-speed patrol in addition to around 124 of Israel's pride Merkava tanks, each costing 4.4 million dollars.
At least twelve armored vehicle and personnel carriers were also damaged during the war, according to a tally prepared by IslamOnline.net based on Israeli media and official reports.
In Italy, Maccabi Haifa's players were very tense when the fans of A.S. Livorno Calcio chanted "Hizbullah" at their UEFA Cup's match on November 29.
"The fans and others of Arab origin shouted 'Hizbullah' whenever an Israeli player approaches the benches," reported Italian daily La Stampa.
"Others waved the Lebanese and Palestinian flags in the stadium."
The match ended 1/1, having the Israeli team advancing to the second round.
Jewish groups in France were quick to slam the pro-Hizbullah slogans as "anti-Semitic."
The boos are not unprecedented. When France played Israel in 1987 and 2000 - when the first and second Palestinian Intifadas erupted respectively - the fans booed and whistled loudly when the Israeli anthem was played.
At least 5,607 people were killed since the start of the second Intifada in September 2000, the vast majority are Palestinians.
Over the past five months, Israel killed more than 400 Palestinians in a five-month offensive in Gaza before it came to a halt under a truce offered by Palestinian resistance factions a week ago.
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