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Palestinians continue to push for Israeli exclusion from world soccer federation FIFA Featured

WJC, Leaders of the world soccer federation FIFA have stepped up efforts to head off a vote called by the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) aimed at Israel's suspension from the international governing body over allegedly unfair treatment of Palestinian players by the authorities.

“Negotiations are still going on but they are very complicated,” a top FIFA official told the news agency AFP. FIFA President Sepp Blatter last week held talks with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas in a bid to prevent the politically charged vote at the FIFA Congress in Zurich this Friday.

A FIFA spokeswoman told AFP that “only Palestine can withdraw the demand to suspend Israel from the agenda.” PFA President Jibril Rajoub has so far refused to withdraw the motion that will require the backing of three quarters of the 209 member federations to pass.

Blatter, who is running for a fifth term as FIFA president on Friday, told the body's Executive Committee on Monday about his trip to the Middle East but did not report a deal.

Blatter’s main talks have been with Rajoub and Israel Football Association President Ofer Eini who argues that restrictions on Palestinian players are a security question.

“The FIFA president will report to the Congress on this dossier later this week with the aim of providing a framework for strengthening the development of football in the region,” said a FIFA statement.

Blatter strongly opposes the vote saying it is bringing politics into football and that Israel has not breached FIFA’s statutes. “The Executive underlined that a FIFA member association should not be suspended if it has not violated the FIFA statutes,” said the statement.

Meanwhile, an Israeli NGO accused PFA President Rajoub of gross violations of FIFA's code of conduct, including advocating the killing of Israeli civilians living in the West Bank and the use of nuclear weapons against the State of Israel.

In a letter to FIFA President Blatter, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the head of Shurat HaDin, said Rajoub's remarks constituted grave breaches of his obligation to comply with FIFA's statutes and rules prohibiting discrimination, intimidation and violence against individuals and groups.
Rajoub had "promoted, supervised and glorified" a number of attacks by Fatah and by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades against Israel, Darshan-Leitner said.

Among other comments, Rajoub had declared that Israel is "our enemy and our battle is against them" and said that in the armed conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorist organizations should be fought by all means, and using all weapons, and that “if we had nuclear weapons, we’d be using them."
Last modified onThursday, 11 February 2016 15:55

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