Shaknin. Doha stadium?
Photo: Gil Nechushtan
Tibi. No peace and no nothing
Photo: Sebastian Scheiner
Senior officials in the Prime Minister's Office, in the Peres Center for Peace and in other official institution in Israel have expressed their dissatisfaction with the fact that the municipal soccer stadium in the Arab-Israeli town of Sakhnin was named "Doha Stadium," the Nazareth-based a-Sinara newspaper reported.
Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi (Hadash-Ta'al) said in response to a suggestion to change the stadium's name to "The Peace Stadium" that "in which Jewish city in Israel is there a stadium called peace stadium?'"
"Therefore, I say no peace and no nothing. There is no need to degrade the mind and the feelings of the Arabs," he said.
The Sakhnin Municipality and the Bnei Sakhnin soccer team management were approached by a number of Israeli officials on the issue, especially due to the fact that Israeli institutions donated a sum of NIS 17 million (about USD 4 million) so far for the stadium's renovation.
The stadium's name embarrassed officials in Israel and in Sakhnin, and the team's manager, Hasan Abu Saleh, told a-Sinara that "the mayor will hold a meeting after he returns from his vacation, and it is possible that it will be decided to change the name of the stadium to 'Peace Stadium' or 'the municipal field.'"
The Sakhnin stadium received a donation of about USD 6 million from Qatar's Olympic committee, and therefore it was decided to name it 'Doha stadium.'
Abu-Saleh referred to the issue, saying that "Qatar donated funds for building an entire sports village, including a training field and other devices, which will bear the name Doha."
Tibi, who helped obtain the donations from Qatar, rejected the idea to change the stadium's name.
"We are proud of the Arab name Doha. This is the smallest thing Sakhnin and its municipality could give Qatar and its Olympic committee in return for their unprecedented donation," he said.
"The suggestion to change the name is an arrogant suggestion made by people who gave a few hundreds of thousands of shekels, or by the government who provided very little infrastructure services, including to the Sakhnin stadium. What the government gave is its duty to its citizens, and what Qatar donated is an honor and we are thankful for it," he added.
Tibi also said that Sakhnin Mayor Mohammed Bashir telephoned him and stressed that the current name of the stadium will not be changed, as the municipality committed in writing to the Qatar Olympic Committee.