Palestinian soccer head under fire after withdrawing motion to suspend Israel from FIFA – Jerusalem Post
Jibril Rajoub, Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), is facing sharp criticism for dropping his demand to suspend Israel from the Federation International de Football Association (FIFA) on Friday.
Rajoub’s last-minute announcement came as a surprise to many Palestinians, especially in the wake of his repeated statements that nothing would stop him from pursuing his anti-Israel bid.
On the eve of FIFA’s 65th Congress, Rajoub’s PFA organized several protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in favor of the expulsion of Israel from the international body.
On Saturday, the PFA’s website was hacked by angry protesters who denounced Rajoub as a “traitor.”
Many Palestinians also expressed outrage over the handshake between Rajoub and Ofer Eini, Chairman of the Israel Football Association, which took place shortly after the former announced his decision to abandon the motion asking for Israel to be suspended from FIFA.
Rajoub’s critics took to social media to strongly condemn his decision and call for his dismissal from his job.
Scores of Palestinians signed an online petition calling for the firing of Rajoub for his “surprise and uncalculated” decision. “This decision has caused enormous damage to the Palestinian cause and sports,” the petition read. “The Palestinian people need serious leaders who are capable of achieving the right to self-determination.”
Some Palestinian activists expressed deep concern that Rajoub’s decision would hinder efforts to promote boycotts against Israel in the international community.
Other activists also launched an online campaign entitled, “Red Car for Jibril Rajoub.”
One activist wrote: “Rajoub’s decision is a severe blow to millions of Palestinians and those who support our cause. It’s time to say enough to corruption, dictatorial decisions and political concessions.”
Wala’ Sameeh, from the Gaza Strip, wrote on Twitter: “Rajoub does not represent me. He has disappointed the Palestinian people.”
Blogger Mohamed Abu Allan also pointed out that Rajoub has left many Palestinians deeply disappointed.
Another blogger, Eid Shkhaidem, commented: “As long as there are collaborators like Jibril Rajoub and Mahmoud Abbas, Palestine will never be liberated.”
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) called for launching an immediate investigation into Rajoub’s decision, which is described as a “severe blow to the blood of our martyrs, prisoners and patients.”
The PFLP said in a strongly worded statement that Rajoub’s decision “beautifies the ugly face of occupation and exonerates it from crimes against our people.” The group also said that the decision was a blow to pro-Palestinian activists and organizations working to promote boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
Palestinian columnist Emad Abu al-Rus wrote that he was not surprised by Rajoub’s “light-heated” move to drop the demand to have Israel suspended from FIFA.
“Rajoub was never a real athlete or a general,” Abu al-Rus remarked. “This is a man who never completed his high school studies.” He and other Palestinians pointed out that Rajoub was one of the first security commanders to conduct security coordination with Israel after the signing of the Oslo Accords and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority. Rajoub, who served more than 16 years in Israeli prison for terror-related activities, was the first commander of the PA’s Preventive Security Service in the West Bank.
Another columnist, Hashem Khalidi, said he too was not surprised by Rajoub’s decision. “Those who know his history are aware that Rajoub had sold his people to Israel when he was commander of the Preventive Security Service. This month represents only himself and not the heroic Palestinian people.”
Hamas also strongly condemned the decision to drop the anti-Israel motion, saying it showed the PA leadership’s true attitude toward Israel. Hamas spokesman Hussam Badran said that the Palestinians no longer trust the PA’s promises to file “war crime” charges against Israel with the International Criminal Court.