For more than a year, the head of the Preventive Security Forces in the Palestinian Authority and former chairman of the Palestinian Football Association, Jibril Rajoub, has been in conflict with Israel's soccer leagues and teams.
In his attempts to undermine Israel politically and diplomatically, Rajoub has attempted to convince the international soccer league, FIFA, to ban Israeli teams from participating in tournaments, especially teams based in Judea and Samaria.
At first, Rajoub argued that Israel discriminated against Arab athletes and prevented them from entering and leaving the Palestinian Authority. This claim led FIFA to form an international team that investigated the claims and which is expected to submit its findings to the next FIFA Congress, which will take place on May 11, 2017.
Israel has finally answered Rajoub's provocations with a lawsuit against the PA official. The International Legal Forum, headed by Attorney Yifah Segal, filed a suit today against the Palestinian Football Association and Jibril Rajoub for personal violations of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
In the lawsuit, which was signed by Asher Azran, the manager of the Hapoel Kfar Shalem soccer team of, it was claimed that Rajoub's behavior as chairman of the Palestinian Football Association had many ramifications for soccer players, soccer teams and others who are subordinate to FIFA.
According to the lawsuit, the offenses Rajoub committed in his appeal to the World Football Organization include racism, discrimination, incitement to violence, harassment, and causing physical and mental danger to members of different ethnic groups, nationalities and religions. "In addition," the statement states, "in his unacceptable behavior and leadership of Rajoub encouraged and even forced others to commit these crimes themselves."
With the assistance of Palestinian Media Watch, the Israeli Research Institute for the Study of Palestinian Society, the ILF collected a large number of examples for the lawsuit, proving that Rajoub has indeed committed these grave crimes and providing details of the relevant clauses that violate these behaviors.
In one example, Rajoub said in the PA media that "any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy constitutes a crime against humanity." He made the statement following the participation of Israeli and Arab children in a game organized by the Peres Center for Peace. He also said that the punishment of anyone who plays with or against Israelis must be to for the player to be removed from any sports activity and from his position as chairman of the Arab Football Association.
"The statements and actions of the Palestinian Association and Jibril Rajoub demonstrate that they see themselves as integral players in the political struggle between Israel and the Palestinians and that for them the use of sport is only a tool in this struggle," the IFL said in a statement.
"The fact that Rajoub himself holds several political positions at the same time, including a senior Fatah position, is a blatant violation of FIFA's code of ethics, and Article 14 of the Code of Ethics requires an association member to remain politically neutral."