While friends and supporters of Palestine were outside the Zurich Venue of FIFAs Congress, holding placards and Palestinian flags, the Palestine Football Association was inside working out a deal to pull the motion to ban the Israeli Football Federation (IFA).
Instead of forcing the Congress to consider the motion which sets out why the IFA should be suspended because of Israel’s breaches of FIFAs statutes, Jibril Rajoub, Head of the PFA agreed to drop the call for expulsion in return for formation of a committee to examine the outstanding issues. Far from showing Israel the red card, the PA gave away another card it holds to bring Israel to account for nothing.
Israel will be the happier of the two sides. The Palestinian people and their supporters are again left wondering how the PA repeatedly postures and backtracks at the last minute. They are also angered by what they see as a missed opportunity to bring Israel to account.
I know people who travelled to Zurich to demonstrate outside the venue and who have conducted an excellent campaign to ‘show Israel the Red Card’. I feel embarrassed as a Palestinian that while our supporters show unbelievable commitment to the Palestinian people, the Palestinian leadership takes this for granted. They call on the world to show support and solidarity, get it and then pull the carpet from under them, literally as they demonstrate for Palestinian rights. How can we continue to ask them for unquestioned support if the leadership then capitulates?
The PA will claim that they came under sustained pressure to pull the motion. Israel will have worked tirelessly behind the scenes. Netanyahu threatened FIFA with ‘destruction’. But the PA knew that would happen. It was hardly a surprise.
The Palestinian people and their supporters remember the hope for Israeli accountability generated when the International Court of Justice gave its advisory about the illegality of the Separation Wall in 2004 and remember the Goldstone report on Israel’s war in Gaza in 2009. Both were important cards the PA chose not to use at the time and continue to do so to this day.
Can the Palestinian people believe any more of the PAs threats (postures) in the future? Should Palestinian supporters plan their trip to the International Criminal Court (ICC), where the PA intends to go next, to show their support? Or should they save their money and use their well earned days off from work for a well deserved holiday instead?
The PA needs to surprise us all. It needs to go to the ICC with the cases against settlements and the 2014 war on Gaza and stick with it until Israeli war criminals are brought to justice. It has let the Palestinians down for too long and has taken the solidarity movement for granted for too long.
I want to say to supporters of the Palestinians with confidence, book your tickets and prepare the Palestinian flags for your trip to the ICC.
The President of the Palestinian Football Federation, Jibril Rajoub explained what happened at the FIFA Congress in an interview in Arabic with Slarabia Alhadarh channel. He said that the motion to suspend Israel from FIFA was not pulled, but was suspended to allow a committee to investigate the claims of hindering Palestinian football’s development and racism in Israel against Pakestjnian citizens. He said that the issue of 5 teams from the settlements playing in the Israrli league needed investigation to ascertain whether it was legal. He also said there was a threat to put a motion in front of Congress to prohibit the suspension of any member of FIFA at the request of another member before the Palestijian motion was put. Thus would gave effectively made it inadmissible. He explained that by agreeing to ‘suspend’ the suspension motion and receiving 90% support, including Europesn members, Palestine made done key wins that will help to either improve the situation or to bring back a suspension motion in future.
Rajoub also stated that he had voted for Prince Ali Bin Alhussain for the leadership of FIFA but had not made it public initially for tactical reasons connected to the Palestinian motion.
Rajoub had come under attack for both ‘pulling’ the Palestinian motion and his lack of public support for Prince Ali. He accused those with political agendas for pursuing these ‘false’ claims.
The problem is how the message is communicated to Palestinian supporters who are left angry at the withdrawal of the Palestinuan motion and the kerf river capitulation by the PA.
Below us s copy if the resolution passed by FIFA Congress on Friday 29/5/2015 Via @jibrilrajoub.