The Palestine Football Association (PFA) has dropped its proposal to suspend Israel from world football. The motion had been included on the agenda at the FIFA Congress in Zurich today, but Jibril Rajoub, president of Palestine FA, said he had been persuaded to back down.
“I decided to drop the suspension but it does not mean that I give up the resistance,” Rajoub said. He added that the Palestinians still demand the UN look into the status of five Israeli football league teams from illegal settlements in the West Bank.
Haartez reported that Israeli officials met with FIFA officials until late Thursday night in an effort to draft a compromise proposal, while earlier in the day, pro-Palestinian protesters interrupted FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s opening remarks, waving red cards at FIFA representatives and chanting “Israel out!” before being escorted out of the hall.
The PFA and activists had accused Israel of hampering its activities and restricting the movement of players between the Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Israel cites security concerns for the restrictions it imposes and the country’s football association has argued that it has no control over security forces.
FIFA has been trying to settle the matter for two years and Blatter, ealier this month, travelled to the region and meet Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Images below from Anadolu Agency of a group of Palestinian children gathered earlier today in Ramallah, West Bank, in asking FIFA to suspend Israel from world football.
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