The Mainz club learned on Wednesday with “surprise” and “incomprehension” of a publication by Anwar El Ghazi on Instagram, in which the player denies “distancing himself” from a previous message on the Israel-Hamas conflict published mid -October and for which it is currently suspended.
The Dutch international winger was suspended on October 17 following a message on social networks concerning the war between Israel and Hamas, notably containing the phrase “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, a slogan seen by some as a call for the destruction of Israel, by others as a call for equal rights between Palestinians and Israelis.
Believing that this message did not correspond “to the values of the club”, Mainz suspended Anwar El Ghazi.
Last Friday, the player published a new message on Instagram, condemning “the murder of innocent civilians in Palestine and Israel” and offering his “condolences (...) to the innocent victims of this conflict, regardless of their nationality”.
On Monday, Mainz announced his next return to the squad, ensuring that the player had, during several interviews with the club's management, “distanced himself from his message published on his Instagram account (October 17), which he had itself deleted a few minutes later.
“He regretted the publication of the message and its negative impact,” added the club.
“I have no regrets, or remorse regarding my position. I do not distance myself from what I said or what I support, today and until my last breath, for humanity and the oppressed,” El Ghazi assured Wednesday on Instagram, without repeating the formula “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, and calling for “an end to the killings in Gaza”.
“Any other statement, comment or apology attributed to me is not factually correct, and I did not authorize it,” he said.
“Mainz takes note of Anwar El Ghazi's comments on social networks concerning the club, with surprise and incomprehension,” reacted Mainz, specifying that the player was on sick leave on Monday. The club is “studying the facts legally” and “will then evaluate them”, he added.
Israel launched a war to “annihilate” Hamas in retaliation for the unprecedented bloody attack perpetrated on October 7 by the Palestinian Islamist movement, whose commandos killed at least 1,400 people, mostly Israeli civilians, on the edge of the Gaza Strip, according to Israeli authorities who assure that at least 240 hostages are still being held in the Gaza Strip.
More than 8,500 Palestinians have been killed since the start of incessant bombardments by the Israeli army on the Gaza Strip, according to a report from the Hamas Ministry of Health.