Jibril Rajoub
Jibril RajoubReuters

Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) soccer federation, has banned Arab players who are playing in Israeli leagues from being part of the “Palestine” soccer team, the Walla! Hebrew-language news website revealed on Monday.

According to the report, the professional team headed by well-known Algerian coach Noureddine Ould Ali sought to add Arab-Israeli players who are currently playing in the national leagues in Israel to the team. However, Rajoub informed the coach that a decision had been made prohibiting such players from being part of the team.

The Algerian coach reportedly sought to add Ala'a Abu Saleh, a fullback for Hapoel Iksal, who had previously represented the “Palestine” team while playing in the PA league. According to Walla!, the Algerian coach even tried to have Abu Saleh sign with a team based in the Far East and even in France in order to "bypass" the PA law, but the move did not succeed and Abu Saleh ultimately signed with Iksal.

Ould Ali also wanted to add Ali Khatib of Hapoel Hadera to the team, but his candidacy was rejected for the same reasons.

Rajoub has long taken actions against Israel and has in the past attempted to force FIFA to ban six Israeli teams based in Judea and Samaria. He claims that their presence there is in breach of FIFA statutes, which forbids another member association playing on another territory without permission.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino ultimately announced his organization would not intervene in the issue and that it considers the matter closed.

Rajoub later accused FIFA of caving to Israeli pressure, saying Infantino “did not deal appropriately” with his complaints against Israel.

More recently, Rajoub was suspended for a year from FIFA for inciting hatred and violence, after he called on soccer fans to target the Argentinian Soccer Association and burn jerseys and pictures of Lionel Messi when he was scheduled to play a friendly game in Israel.

After his suspension from FIFA was announced, Rajoub blamed Israel, claiming the suspension was caused by “unilateral media reports in addition to misinformation from right-wing organizations in Israel.”

He has in the past said that Jews deserved the genocide inflicted on them by the Nazis. Prior to that he declared that if the PA had a nuclear bomb, it would use it against Israel.

In one incident, Rajoub was filmed as he verbally confronted Border Police officers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron, telling one of them to "shut up, go to hell."