Calling for Action: Evaluating Israel's participation in the Paris Olympic amid Palestinian casualties

Calling for Action: Evaluating Israel’s participation in the Paris Olympic amid Palestinian casualties

FRANCE-Several hundred pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered on Tuesday close to the offices of the Paris Olympics organizers, demanding that Israel’s participation in the Summer Games in the French capital be restricted. Around 300 protesters demonstrated against Israel’s “institutional participation” in the Games due to the Gaza conflict in front of the Paris Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games offices in the neighborhood of Saint-Denis. They waved Palestinian flags and chanted anti-Israeli chants.

Escalating conflict

Protesters argued the International Olympic Committee should follow the same approach for the Israelis, citing the example of Russian athletes who would compete at the Olympics under a neutral flag and without the presence of Russian government officials. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, “they didn’t need more than four days to decide to ban Russia and Belarus from the Olympics,” stated Nicolas Shahshahani, an activist from EuroPalestine who was present at the demonstration on Tuesday. “They’re ready to greet the delegation from Israel.” 

The diverse field of sports diplomacy reflects a country’s aspirations for itself on the global arena. It takes two main forms, Sports in the service of diplomacy, which is an idea opposed by the Olympic Committee in order to prevent sports from becoming politicized and in accordance with Article 3 of the Olympic Charter, and Diplomacy in the service of sports, which includes diplomatic initiatives that advance a country’s sporting achievements. This sophisticated view of sports diplomacy preserves the political neutrality of sports while simultaneously advancing the competitive ethos.

Israel’s response

 French President Emmanuel Macron supported the International Olympic Committee’s decision to permit Russian athletes to compete in the Olympics, although under a neutral flag, in spite of the invasion of Ukraine. A senior source stated that the IOC had no intention of punishing Israel for its incursion in Gaza before the Olympics in Paris. The IOC suspended Moscow for its war in Ukraine, while Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, the director of the Paris 2024 IOC coordination committee, described the situation in Gaza and Russia’s war in Ukraine as “different situations.” 

After a three-day visit to the French capital, Beckers-Vieujant told reporters on Friday that “it’s out of question to imagine sanctions (on Israel) right now.” “There are very specific reasons why the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and the IOC were first sanctioned against Russia.” “Key elements of the Olympic charter were undermined by Russia and, more recently, the ROC,” he declared. “Neither the Israeli Olympic Committee nor the Palestinian Olympic Committee which coexist peacefully can claim that. It’s obvious that these are distinct circumstances.

Diplomatic and legal perspectives

The IOC asked all international sports federations to postpone upcoming tournaments in Russia and exclude athletes from Belarus and Russia from competing four days after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Following the Winter Olympics in Beijing, Russia invaded, breaking both the Olympic charter and the “Olympic truce,” according to IOC chief Thomas Bach. After the Russian Olympic Committee added regional sports organizations in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine as members, the IOC banned the committee in October of last year. Athletes from Belarus and Russia may participate in the Paris Games as neutrals this year, provided they have not openly backed the conflict in Ukraine, with the exception of team competitions. Only eight Russian competitors and three Belarusian athletes have qualified as neutrals, according to IOC estimations, despite mounting rumors that Russia may boycott the whole competition.

Potential ramifications

Israeli athletes would have special protection during the Paris Games, according to remarks made this week by IOC chief Thomas Bach. “Actions will be taken,” he stated in comments that the Swiss daily 24 Heures published. “During the Games, the Israelis must feel comfortable.” Treating everyone equitably is vital, whether in the Olympic village or elsewhere. “Everyone ought to treat others with dignity and decency.” Olympic boycotts can take many different forms; in addition to a country’s decision to abstain, governments can also forbid other countries from competing.

Boycott Pairs Olympics 2024:

Boycotts have been a prominent form of political protest throughout Olympic history, reflecting the tensions that were present across the world at the time. A group of left-leaning French MPs and several Palestinian activists have demanded that Israel be sanctioned by the IOC for the Gaza War, which began on October 7 after Hamas launched an offensive that claimed almost 1,140 lives. Israel responded by vowing to destroy Hamas and initiating an invasion that, according to Gaza’s health ministry, has killed at least 30,878 Palestinians, the majority of whom were women and children.



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