Photo Credit: PMW
Palestinian Authority boxer Sultan Abu Al-Haj

by Itamar Marcus

The Palestinian Olympic Committee forced a boxer from the Palestinian Authority to forfeit his match and give up his chance to win a bronze medal rather than compete with an Israeli Druze boxer. The boxer told the official PA TV that it was not his decision but rather his superiors, including the Palestinian Olympic Committee, who forced him to forfeit:

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Official PA TV host 1: “Let’s talk about Sultan Abu Al-Haj, a Palestinian boxer who refused to compete with an Israeli boxer and lost a bronze medal.”

Host 2: “Sultan, why did you make this decision? You lost a medal!”

Boxer Sultan Abu Al-Haj: “I didn’t make the decision. My trainers and the [Palestinian] Olympic Committee made the decision, and as a competitor I cannot oppose them… The decision was reached that it is forbidden to compete with [Israelis], because it’s beneath our dignity to compete with them and recognize them as (sic) the State of Israel.”
[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Aug. 17, 2017]

Palestinian boxer Sultan Abu Al-Haj refused to compete and instead forfeited his match against Israeli Druze boxer Amit Madah on Aug. 8, 2017 in the ‘under 54 kg’ division at the Youth Muay Thai World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand. This was the first time that the Palestinian Authority sent an athlete to compete in this tournament.

The Palestinian Olympic Committee’s demand that a Palestinian athlete not compete with an Israeli violates the spirit of the Olympics and possibly the International Olympic Committee’s Code of Ethics, Article 1.2, which demands “respect of the principle of the universality and political neutrality of the Olympic Movement.”

Although this was not an Olympic event, it was the Palestinian Olympic Committee, which is a member of the “Olympic Movement,” that made the decision not to compete with Israelis.

The Palestinian Olympic Committee, as well as the Palestinian Football Association, is headed by Jibril Rajoub, the Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and one of the Palestinian leaders seen as a possible replacement for the 82-year-old Mahmoud Abbas. It is Rajoub himself who has led the PA’s war against using sports for peace-building:

“Chairman of the Olympic Committee, and Chairman of the [Palestinian] Football Association Jibril Rajoub said any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity… [Rajoub said] ‘I demand that all individuals and institutions distance themselves from such activities, especially because their recurrence would arouse disgust and aversion towards all members of the [Palestinian] sports community.”
[Jibril Rajoub’s official Facebook page, Sept. 6, 2014

On another occasion when Rajoub ranted against sports activities with Israelis he added that he would bring Arabs by helicopter instead of crossing Israel “so they will see no Jews, no Satans, no Zionist @#$%@#$%–s.”

“Something that has no place in the dictionary of Palestinian sportsmen is the subject of normalization… I understand by normalization that the relationship between me and you will be normal, that we’ll play [sports] together and there’ll be a joint program. I say to you: Under no circumstances will there be normalization. Next time we are prepared to bring the Executive Committee in helicopters… so they will see no Jews, no Satans, no Zionist @#$%@#$%–s (expletive deleted by ed.)” [Official PA TV, May 17, 2012]

Palestinian Media Watch has already submitted complaints to both the Ethics and Disciplinary committees of FIFA demanding that Rajoub, an open terror supporter, be removed from his position as head of the Palestinian Football Association, due to his numerous explicit violations of the statutes of the International Football Association.

PMW is now calling on the International Olympic Committee and FIFA to suspend Palestinian participation in all international sports until Jibril Rajoub, Chairman of the Palestinian Olympic Committee and the Palestinian Football Association, apologizes for the violation of the fundamental principle of international sports and commits to future participation with Israelis.

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