The Palestinian Football Association on Thursday demanded that the International federation of Football (FIFA) expel Israel, because it had refused to allow several Arab youth team players into the Palestinian Authority.
“We ask for a red card, because the yellow card has been raised now for a long time,” PFA chief Jibril Rajub told reporters in Ramallah.
In a May interview with Rajub on Lebanese TV, the host referred to “the negotiations game” with Israel, and Rajoub expressed the view that negotiations are held because the Palestinians lack military strength: “I swear that if we had a nuke, we’d have used it this very morning,” he promised.
An enterprising terrorist since the 1970s, Rajoub told AFP: “We are clinging to the red card to take away the Israeli occupation’s legitimacy and we will not accept any compromise.”
Altogether, Israel refused entry to three managers of the Jordanian football union, two UAE representatives and 13 players and managers from Iraq, according to Rajoub.
Considering the fact that Israeli citizens are officially barred from all the Arab countries, that’s a fairly reasonable number, which was based on an evaluation by the Shabac internal security service.
Israeli Soccer Association chairman Avi Luzon said this is a cheap attempt on Rajoub’s part to gain political capital, and hurt Israel in the process. Luzon said he had already responded to all of Rajoub’s complaints back in May, explaining to FIFA the security concerns behind the decision to block the entry of about 15 participants.
The vast majority of players and coaches were approved for passage into the PA from Jordan via the Allenby Bridge crossing.
The entire affair was discussed satisfactorily last month in a meeting between Luzon, FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In April, 2012, the goalie of the Palestinian Olympic soccer team, Omar Abu Rois, who was also a member of Hamas, participated in an attack using AK-47 assault rifles on Israeli soldiers. The goalie and 12 others used a red Crescent ambulance in the attack.
The attack was planned and carried out under the guidance of the PA security service in Ramallah – an outfit Rajoub ran until 2002.