Palestinians step out of shadows

By James Montague, CNN

Updated 1716 GMT (0116 HKT) October 2, 2015
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Palestinians celebrate in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 30, 2014, after their team qualified for their maiden Asian Cup appearance with a 1-0 win over injury-hit Philippines in the final of the AFC Challenge Cup in Maldives. ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images
Hundreds of fans pour onto the street to celebrate the Palestinians' historic success. The Asian Cup will be the first time they have competed in a major international tournament. The Palestinians will make their debut against defending champion Japan in Newcastle, Australia, on Monday. ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images
Recognized by world governing body FIFA in 1998, but the Palestinians have faced a host of problems since its inception due to the political uncertainty at home. ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images
The majority of the squad is based in the Palestinian territories. But Israeli travel restrictions have caused problems for the Palestine Football Assocation in holding training camps and traveling overseas. James Montague
Palestinians seek a state in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War. Here a Gaza league team is pictured sitting back and enjoying a game. James Montague
Referees In Gaza are pictured preparing for a match. James Montague
Palestinian policemen guard a stand full of female spectators at the first women's home match in 2009. Read: Women flock to see first female football game in West Bank James Montague
Palestinian kids are riveted by their favorite up and coming football players. James Montague
Wearing their Palestinian kit, children from Gaza get ready for football practice. James Montague
It's estimated that the Palestinian diaspora numbers 25,000 in Australia. Here members of the Palestinian football team take part in a training session during an invitational tournament in Manila in September 2014. JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images
The Palestinian team poses for photos prior to their knock-out game of the Peace Cup invitational tournament in Manila on September 3, 2014. TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images