Palestine supporters come out in force for 2026 World Cup qualifier against Australia

Harry Souttar scores in 1-0 win for Socceroos in Kuwait on Tuesday

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Palestinian flags and keffiyeh scarf were seen all across Kuwait's Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium during their World Cup qualifier against Australia on Tuesday.

Thousands of Palestinians and their supporters turned out at the 60,000-seat venue for the game against the Socceroos - Palestine's first in front of fans since the start of the war with Israel.

Defender Harry Souttar's 18th-minute goal was all that separated the teams in a 1-0 win for Australia.

"We do not care about the match. We came to deliver a message," said Wael Youssef Labbad, 40, a Palestinian from Ashkelon.

"We, the Palestinian people, are always present with the keffiyeh and the flag."

Earlier, it was announced that the Australian team will donate a portion of their match fees towards humanitarian causes in Gaza.

“It’s unfathomable to comprehend,” midfielder Jackson Irvine was quoted as saying by the Australian Associated Press. “You’re talking about one of the most complicated geopolitical issues of the last 100 years."

The players’ union, Professional Footballers Australia, confirmed a percentage of player match fees would be directed towards Oxfam’s humanitarian efforts in Gaza, via the PFA’s Footballers’ Trust. The move is a player-led effort with Football Australia matching the players’ donation, but no dollar amounts were mentioned.

Updated: November 21, 2023, 5:09 PM