Blatter in Ramallah as Palestinians demand Israel FIFA suspension

Blatter in Ramallah as Palestinians demand Israel FIFA suspension
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Published May 20th, 2015 - 13:09 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Blatter in Ramallah to convince the Palestinians to withdraw their motion
Blatter in Ramallah to convince the Palestinians to withdraw their motion

FIFA President Sepp Blatter arrived in Ramallah Wednesday to try and convince the Palestinians to withdraw a motion to have Israel suspended from the ruling body of football.

Blatter held talks in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late Tuesday, ahead of the vote scheduled Friday next week at FIFA's annual congress in Zurich.

Netanyahu praised Blatter, who hopes to be reelected at the congress, "for opposing the politicizing of sport."

"Sport is a vehicle of goodwill among nations," Netanyahu said.

The Palestinians slam Israel's security restrictions on the movement of Palestinian sportspeople and equipment.

But Netanyahu insisted that he was "helping Palestinian football," and promised to discuss with Blatter "a number of measures that we think would further help the situation."

Blatter said football was "stronger" than any conflict between people.

"Football is nowadays such a strong, strong organization that we should go into a peace situation and not into a fighting situation," he said.

"Football shall connect people and not divide people."

The Palestinian move to suspended FIFA membership of the Israel Football Association (IFA) had also prompted Blatter to hold a meeting with the Palestinian and Israeli football presidents last week in Zurich.

On his arrival at his Jerusalem hotel Tuesday he was met by young Palestinian protesters, demanding that FIFA stop what they call Israeli interference in Palestinian sports.

Blatter was meeting Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, ahead of noon talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Football Association (PFA) head Jibril Rajoub.

He was also scheduled to inaugurate a FIFA Goal Project at a Palestinian village and visit a refugee camp.

# Notebook

## Internet links - [Agenda of FIFA Congress, with vote planned against Israel](http://dpaq.de/iFtPl) - [The Israel Football Association](http://dpaq.de/wQ81j) - [The Palestinian Football Association](http://dpaq.de/reHZq) - [Blatter on Twitter](http://dpaq.de/25EcL)

* * * * The following information is not intended for publication

## Editorial contacts - Reporting by: Ofira Koopmans in Tel Aviv, Maher Abukhater in Ramallah and John Bagratuni in Berlin - Editing by: John Bagratuni - Tel: +49-30-285231472;

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