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PFLP slams decision to drop bid to suspend Israel from FIFA

May 30, 2015 12:25 P.M. (Updated: May 31, 2015 10:00 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) – Dropping the bid to suspend Israel from FIFA was an "outrageous deviation from our values, principles and efforts to expose the Israeli occupation's crimes and to oust Israel from international organizations," the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said Saturday.

The leftist PLO faction laid responsibility for the last-minute withdrawal on Palestinian Authority decision makers, calling upon the Executive Committee of the PLO to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the issue and "settle account with" those behind the decision.

Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub dropped the bid Friday minutes before it was scheduled to be brought to the table.

The football governing body voted instead on an amendment proposing the formation of a committee to monitor the movement of Palestinian football players, Israeli racism, as well as the status of Israeli league teams based in illegal Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank.

The new amendment passed with 90 percent of member nations voting in favor following a whirlwind of ambiguous last minute changes.

PFLP maintained that Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub should be questioned over his position and his exact actions during the FIFA congress meeting.

Such behavior is a "slap to Palestinian sport," the group said, pointing to the decision as a waste of the blood lost by all those who have sacrificed for Palestinian movement and independence from Israeli occupation.

The group also described dropping the bid at the last moment as "an act of betrayal" towards international solidarity and the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which struggled until the last moment to support the bid.

"This behavior poses multiple question marks about the Palestinian efforts to join international organizations," the PFLP wrote in a statement.

Friday's near-bid to suspend Israel was the latest in a string of efforts to use boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) to build international pressure on the Israeli government to end the ongoing military occupation.

Protesters supporting Israel's suspension from FIFA temporarily halted Blatter's opening address to the congress Friday, waving red cards at FIFA representatives and chanting "Israel out!" before they were escorted out of the hall by security guards.

In light of apparent international support for the original bid, the PFLP urged Palestinian leadership to consult "leading Palestinian organizations" instead of single handedly making major decisions related to the Palestinian national cause.

While the new amendment designates a "multi-lateral monitor group to work directly under the rules of the FIFA Ethics, Legal, and Discrimination committees, and will be composed of International Observers," it is not yet clear in what capacity the group will act to monitor Israeli violations against Palestinian players.

Re-elected FIFA President Sepp Blatter appointed former South African cabinet minister and African National Congress (ANC) leader Tokyo Sexwale to head the committee.

Both an anti-apartheid activist and former political prisoner, Sexwale's nomination to head the monitoring committee was a reminder of the potential role sports played in ending the era of apartheid South Africa.

South Africa was suspended from FIFA from 1976 until 1992 when the apartheid regime fell.

Following the amendment win in congress, Rajoub said FIFA must now help tackle the issues facing Palestinian players in the occupied West Bank before waving a red card at delegates to emphasize his point.

"I think it's time to raise the red card against racism and humiliation in Palestine and everywhere. It is time," he added.
Hassan / Canada
Let's just move on - play sports and not politics - maybe some bridges can be built between Israeli and Palestinian young athletes, by being constructive and not destructive. I hope Mr. Jaboub does not get assassinated by the PFLP.
30/05/2015 16:12
Tibi / Tubas
- The PFLP has started war with Israel, at this time, because it knows that it would lose badly, and that the costs would be very high, and
- The PLO dropped it's bid to suspend Israel from FIFA, because it knew that it would lose badly, and that the costs would be very high !!
30/05/2015 17:25
Billy Bragg / UK
Israel’s delegate to FIFA Ofer Eni advised Brigadier General Jibril Rajoub to “leave politics to politicians” and invited him to the podium shake hands. The Palestinian refused.
30/05/2015 17:46
Well said Hassan, well said.
30/05/2015 19:54
@ Hassan / USA
Everything Palestinians do is about politics. There is nothing else !!
For example, when they joined UNESCO, their motives were entirely
- certain historic sites were on "their land", and nothing to do with
- UNESCO's mission of "Education, Science, or Culture" !!
30/05/2015 20:25
Brian Cohen / Israel
Hear hear! I second Hassan's call to use sport as a bridge between the two nations. Rajoub has been blocking friendly games since he took over the PFA.
30/05/2015 20:48
Carol Scheller / Switzerland
Mr Rajoub let down a huge number of European activists who had worked like anything and made long trips for NOTHING because they trusted him !
30/05/2015 21:32
Carol Scheller / Switzerland
Billy : There's a video on Haaretz that shows the two shaking hands !
30/05/2015 22:54
Nathan / Israel
The Indonesian FA was suspended by FIFA in the same meeting, because the Indonesian government was interfering with the domestic league. The PFLP should keep that in mind before it asks for Jibril Rajoub to be brought up before political boards of inquiry over failing to toe the line on BDS.
31/05/2015 03:35
Mad Max / Latvia
“We will never, ever accept any compromise, any agreement or deal,” Palestinian Football Association chief Jibril Rajoub has explained. A former security official in the PLO’s feared security apparatus, Rajoub regards sports as a tool for the P A to achieve statehood without negotiating with Zionist.
31/05/2015 08:09
Billy Bragg / UK
Carol, but it did not happen on the podium. And the Israelis had to instigate the handshake by walking over to the PA delegation. Have a look at the youtube footage.
31/05/2015 17:58
howard / US
Palestinians seem to have the knack of shooting themselves in the foot, time after time after time. This was truly a useless initiative on their part.
31/05/2015 18:11
Think Peace / Or Else
Unless Hamas and the PLO accept peace with the Jewish state,
the next 5, and probably 50 years will be the same, with:
-1- Gaza becoming less habitable and more impoverished, and
-2- West Bank Palestinians Areas A and B stagnating, and
-3- Israel expanding on disputed lands and prospering.
31/05/2015 19:02
Trixie - Bell / Usa
No one cared about the Indonesian FA being suspended, doesn't make the headlines.
31/05/2015 21:18
Tibi Two / Tubas
- Unless Palestinians negotiate a peace agreement with Israel,
Neither another 5 years, nor even another 500 years, will change the course of Palestine's stagnation, and Israel's growth and prosperity, so
- Palestinians Need A Peace Agreement More Than Israel, and
must make it happen !!
31/05/2015 22:01
Tobias / USA
-1- FIFA had a unified approach, of sports instead of politics, long before Palestine became a member, just as
-2- UNESCO had a unified approach, education, science, and culture instead of politics, long before Palestine became a member, and
-3- Both FIFA and UNESCO should expel Palestine !!
04/06/2015 22:40
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