Israel in Desperation – Robert Fantina/Aletho News
Representatives of the Palestine Football Association removed their request for a vote at FIFA (The Fédération Internationale de Football Association; English: International Federation of Association Football) to expel Israel, at the very last minute. Whether it was known that they had insufficient votes, or Israel made some concessions, it can only be seen as a mistake for Palestine, and a small but short-lived victory for Israel.
Let’s look at this situation more closely.
If Palestine knew that it didn’t have the vote of 75% of the FIFA membership, a vote would still have required each nation to take a stand, either for or against justice, individual dignity and human rights. Countries that voted not to expel would have then been under pressure to change their vote the next time this issue arises before FIFA, which it definitely will. Palestine surrendered an excellent opportunity.
The other possible option is that Israel agreed to make some concessions. Surely no one representing Palestine would believe in Israel’s ‘good intentions’. Israel’s murderous, genocidal onslaught against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip last summer drew to a close when a cease-fire agreement was reached between the two nations. Palestine agreed to stop its rocket-fire (more on those ‘rockets’ later) and Israel agreed to do the same, as well as allow trade between Gaza and the West Bank, and to ease the blockade of the Strip, including allowing the import of building materials. This easing of the blockade also included allowing fishermen to work unimpeded for a nine-mile limit.
Since then, there has been very little rocket-fire from Gaza, and that only in response to ongoing Israeli violations of the cease-fire. Trade is still forbidden between Gaza and the West Bank. Insufficient building materials have been allowed in to Gaza, and fisherman are routinely shot within sight of the shoreline.
And what about those Palestinian ‘rockets’? Dr. Norman Finkelstein, a noted scholar, son of Holocaust survivors and an outspoken critic of Israel, refers to them as ‘enhanced fireworks’. Another journalist noted that those ‘rockets’ could be made with an eighth-grade chemistry set. This is what Palestine must use to oppose Israel, which has the most advanced and deadly weaponry available in the world, all provided by the United States.
So if Israel made ‘concessions’ that caused Palestine to agree to withdraw its request for a vote, nothing will change.
So Israeli football (soccer) teams can continue to play in all world games, abusing Palestinians, preventing them from training and competing, and harassing them when they do. Business as usual for apartheid Israel.
However, the picture isn’t as rosy for Israel as it might seem. Regardless of what happens to the current corrupt FIFA leadership, the battle at FIFA is just one of many fronts. The war for Palestinian independence and freedom is not a ground, sea or air war, and it won’t be won quickly. The publicity surrounding the Palestinian request for a vote to expel Israel shed a very unflattering light on that nation, adding to its growing international reputation as a rogue nation, where racism is institutionalized and justice does not exist. With the newly-formed government of recently re-elected Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu including some of the most overtly racist and genocidal cabinet members the world has ever seen, every new accusation gains greater scrutiny.
Pending in the International Criminal Court (ICC) are the findings on whether or not Israel committed war crimes in the summer of 2014. Palestine may, it is imagined, withdraw that petition as well, but doing so is unlikely. Any decision condemning Israel will have little legal impact, since Israel is not a member of the ICC. However, the court of public opinion is often stronger than anything a judge can decree, and the penalties far harsher than a court edict. The Israeli brand, already damaged beyond redemption, will suffer further once that decision is rendered.
The United Nations, nothing if not weak and generally ineffectual, is also considering a recommendation by its own personnel to add the Israeli army to a list of violators of children’s rights. UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, several Palestinian human rights organizations and at least one Israeli human rights organization all support the inclusion of the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) on this infamous list. Yet Israel has exerted great pressure on the U.N., so it is possible that Ban Ki-Moon, the U.N. Secretary General, may dismiss the work and words of his own advisors. Yet even if he bows to this pressure, significant damage has been done to the Israeli brand.
In the U.S., a situation currently making the news involves the termination of the employment of Professor Steven Salaita from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Mr. Salaita’s offer of tenured employment was withdrawn, following his ‘Tweeted’ criticism of Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians in 2014. Emails sent to the university chancellor indicate that large donors with strong pro-Israel beliefs pressured her into withdrawing the application. Within two weeks, over 1,200 academics around the world vowed to boycott the university, and that number has increased greatly since then. Numerous events scheduled to take place there have been cancelled, because the speakers who had previously agreed to participate, have withdrawn in protest. The American Association of University Professors, which has strongly condemned Mr. Salaita’s dismissal, is expected to censure the university within weeks.
One wonders how long Israel can continue to pressure and brow-beat international organizations into doing its bidding. How much time, effort and expense will it continue to expend to enable its continued crimes against humanity? Although the North American news media does little to publicize Israel’s many war crimes and violations of international law, the corporate-owned and controlled media is no longer the world’s only source of news. Social media gives everyone with a camera and an internet connection the ability to spread news around the world. And that ability, coupled with organized movements such as BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction), global student human-rights organizations working for Palestinian freedom and justice, and frantic (and futile) Israeli efforts to delegitimize Palestinian rights, all strengthen international knowledge of Israeli crimes.
It may not be in 2015 that Palestine is finally freed from its decades-long bondage to Israel. It will not come about because a soccer organization did or didn’t make a stand against injustice, or because of the findings of an international court of law. It will happen due to the efforts of people around the world who recognize the suffering of the Palestinian people, and who will no longer tolerate their governments’ complicity in that suffering. The defeat of apartheid in South Africa did not happen overnight, but it happened. The same will be true for Palestine.