EFL break silence on ‘shocking and devastating’ Israel and Palestine war with call to action for clubs
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The English Football League has asked clubs playing fixtures this weekend to hold a period of silence to remember the lives lost as a result of the 'shocking and devastating events' in Israel and Palestine.
An escalation in the long-running conflict in the region has taken place in the last week after militant group Hamas initiated attacks on Israel last weekend. In the wake of Hamas’ offensive, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to reduce parts of the predominantly-Palestinian Gaza Strip ‘to rubble’ in retaliation.
Many had called on the world's footballing bodies to acknowledge the conflict and act to show solidarity with the victims of the war, which the EFL did on Thursday. Posting a statement online, the EFL said: "Following the shocking and devastating events in Israel and Palestine, our collective thoughts are with all the innocent people who have lost their lives, as well as their families, friends and all those in communities impacted by the escalating conflict.
"The EFL hopes for a swift and peaceful conclusion to the current humanitarian crisis and will be making a donation to the emergency appeal of our charity partner, the British Red Cross, to support the international response efforts aiding those in urgent need across the region. We will be promoting links across EFL channels so that fans can also pledge in support.
"Across EFL fixtures this weekend, Clubs will wear black armbands as a mark of respect to those that have lost their lives and a period of silence will be observed."
The ongoing international break means that there are a limited number of EFL matches this weekend but four League One fixtures and 11 League Two fixtures are set to take place. There will be no Championship matches.
The EFL announcement comes after the FA announced a period of silence would be held for all victims of the conflict before England face Australia in a friendly at Wembley Stadium on Friday night. Black armbands will also be worn by players.
The FA said: “On Friday evening, we will remember the innocent victims of the devastating events in Israel and Palestine. Our thoughts are with them, and their families and friends in England and Australia and with all the communities who are affected by this ongoing conflict. We stand for humanity and an end to the death, violence, fear and suffering.
“England and Australia players will wear black armbands during their match at Wembley Stadium and there will also be a period of silence held before kick-off.”
The FA resisted calls to light the Wembley arch the colours of the Israeli flag after No 10 Downing Street and London’s City Hall took the decision to do so. The Wembley arch has been lit up in various colours in the past to mark tragedies such as the Paris terrorist attacks of 2015 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year.