Rajoub under fierce criticism for dropping anti-Israel Fifa bid

Published June 1st, 2015 - 11:26 GMT

A senior member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) said abandoning a Palestinian bid to ban Israel from the world soccer federation (FIFA) is a breach of PLO resolutions to boycott and punish "the state of occupation." Head of the Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub was under fierce criticism from a wide spectrum of Palestinian society over his decision to shelve the motion banning Israel from world soccer at the FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, on Friday.

Saleh Zeidan, member of the PFLP Politburo, said the withdrawal of the Palestinian bid was a "step in the wrong direction" since five sports clubs in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank are affiliated with Israel's FIFA membership.

He said the move came at a time of rising global boycott and isolation of the state of occupation and of goods made in the settlements, which are illegal under international law.

In a compromise reached at Friday's FIFA Congress, delegates decided to form a special committee to probe Israeli restrictions on the freedom of movement of Palestinian soccer players between the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip and their travel outside the Palestinian territories. The FIFA panel would also investigate Israeli racism and the status of settlement-based sports clubs.

Zeidan said Israel would try to circumvent the committee's mandate and called on the Palestinian Football Association to be prepared for a new round of voting and submit a new application to FIFA to suspend Israel's membership, including the five settlement clubs.

The decision to freeze the anti-Israel proposal stirred outrageous reactions from Palestinian civil society groups and the Palestinian street as people took to the social media to voice their indignation and frustration.

Palestinians fear that forsaking the Israel ban proposal would set a precedent and thwart Palestinian attempts to push through anti-Israel appeals at international forums and entities.

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