PA Asks FIFA to Suspend Israel

The Palestinian Football Association asks that FIFA suspend Israel for restricting the movement of Palestinian Arab players.

Nitsan Keidar,

Jibril Rajoub
Jibril Rajoub
Flash 90

The Palestinian Football Association on Monday officially asked the international soccer organization FIFA to suspend Israel.

The move is being led by Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement who currently serves as president of the Palestinian Football Association. Rajoub has been trying for months to convince FIFA to suspend Israel because of his claims that it discriminates against Palestinian Arab players.

Until recently, FIFA heads tried to convince Rajoub not to submit his request, but Rajoub chose to ignore pleas on the issue from FIFA president Sepp Blatter and went ahead with the request, which will be discussed by the FIFA congress in two months.

It is believed that there is little chance the request will be approved, however, as it takes a majority of 66% of the members to pass such a resolution.

Rajoub said he will cancel the request if Israel allows all Palestinian Arab players to travel unimpeded between Israel and the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories.

The Palestinian Football Association has tried in the past to have Israel expelled from international tournaments for restricting Arab teams from entering PA controlled territories. In response, Blatter had threatened to suspend Israel, which later said it would allow the players free movement.

Rajoub, for his part, is known for his inciting statements against Israel, which include claiming in a television interview that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler could have learned from Israel about extermination camps.

He has suggested in the past that Israel "should be removed", and last year supported Hamas's threats to kidnap IDF soldiers on PA TV.




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