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The Palestinian Football Association will request the FIFA Congress, the general meeting of the world soccer governing body, in May to suspend Israel, saying it continues to hamper its sporting activities.
Despite efforts by FIFA president Sepp Blatter to calm tensions, the Palestinians remain discontented at the current restrictions. The Palestinians claim that Israel interferes on the movement of their sportsmen between the Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The Palestinian Football Association also accuses Israel had placed restrictions on Palestinian territories on the supply of sports equipment and on visits by foreign teams and athletes.
In 2013, Sepp Blatter set up a task force which included the Israeli, Palestinian football officials, himself and the some important chiefs of the European and Asian football confederations to analyze the Palestinian complaints and to try to solve the issue.
But Palestine Football Association president Jibril Rajoub announced he has lost patience, and he has requested FIFA to show Israel “the red card.”
Israel defends itself by citing security worries for restrictions it imposes in the West Bank, where the Western-backed Palestinian Authority is in limited control of the region, but also on the border with the Gaza Strip, which is under Hamas.
Israel says it has ameliorated travel for Palestinian athletes between the two territories, which can be made only by transiting Israel.
In December, Rajoub asked FIFA to sanction Israel after Israeli troops stormed the offices of the Palestine Football Association. An army spokesperson explained at the time soldiers were searching a wanted individual and were not on the premises because of its connections to football.
The Palestinian resolution requests Israel’s suspension because its measures “inhibit the ability to develop the game.”
The document also complains about racist behavior toward Arab athletes and footballers by some Israeli fans, as many Israeli football teams from Jewish towns have Arab players on their rosters.
The Palestinian Football Association added that Israel was breaking international law by offering places in the domestic league play to five clubs from Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Most nations regard settlements Israel has constructed on land it captured in the 1967 war as being illegal.
Reports in the Israeli press this month announced that UEFA President Michel Platini had advised former Israel Football Association chief Avi Luzon, who is a member of the UEFA executive committee, to help avert possible sanctions.
Image Source: Alyaexpress News