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Big win for Israel — off the pitch — at FIFA

Regular readers of the IJN blog will know that for an American medium we follow international soccer pretty closely. So one story we’ve closely followed is that Palestinian attempt to oust Israel from international competition.

The official complaint was this: Israel has six West Bank teams. The Palestinian football association has petitioned FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, to exclude these teams. The primary figure behind this has been Jibril Rajoub, the head of Palestinian association football (as soccer is known everywhere except for in the US, Canada, South African, Australia and New Zealand), who has taken it even further than mere lower level West Bank Israel teams. He’s lobbied FIFA to get rid of Israel’s membership altogether and he’s openly criticized coexistence games on the field comprised of Israeli and Arab Palestinian players.

That’s what delegitimizes so many Palestinian politicians like Rajoub, who happens to also be the Palestinian Authority minister of sport. To the west, they talk about a two-state solution. But his actions show that Rajoub has no interest in two states side by side. What he wants is the elimination of Israel. He’s certainly not the only one in Palestinian circles to hold that view. Remember earlier this year, when Donald Trump, unpracticed in the wily ways of the Middle East, burst out to Mahmoud Abbas “you tricked me!” when Trump realized that Abbas has the Palestinian proclivity for talking out of two sides of his mouth.

The NGO that has stayed on the trail of Jibril Rajoub has been Palestinian Media Watch, and this past week they were vindicated. Earlier this year, in response to proposed sanctions against Israel, PMW turned on the tables on Rajoub etc. al., by filing a counter complaint against Rajoub for his terror-glorifying statements. PMW continued the fight in ensuing month, convincing other organizations to join.

What a win for PMW and Israel when FIFA announced on Oct. 27 that it would not impose sanctions on Israel and reiterated that it must remain neutral with regard to political matters.” Some times the good guys do win!

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