The following letter with attachments was sent to all FIFA member associations. The first attachment is the full text of the PFA motion on suspension of the IFA from FIFA. To our knowledge this is the first time that it has been published in full.
Suspension of the Israeli Football Association from FIFA
You will be aware that the Palestine Football Association (PFA) has submitted a motion (Attachment 1) to this year’s FIFA Congress calling for the suspension of the Israel Football Association (IFA) from FIFA until certain conditions are fulfilled. The PFA has taken this step because after two years the Israel/Palestine Task Force (Attachment 2) established by FIFA has failed to secure meaningful improvement for Palestinian football.
We urge you to support the PFA motion, and we ask you to consider the following facts:
- the IFA has racially segregated Israel’s national children’s league in at least one region of the country – legal proceedings are ongoing.
- the IFA has allowed five clubs located in illegal West Bank settlements to participate in its leagues and competitions.
- the IFA has never once disciplined Beitar Jerusalem FC for that club’s refusal ever to employ an Israeli Arab. Team coach Guy Levi recently restated the club ban on Arabs, drawing censure from Israel’s Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.
- the IFA has never taken serious steps to combat the violent racism of La Familia, the lawless gang associated with Beitar Jerusalem FC. Guy Levi has called them “excellent people and fantastic fans.”
- the IFA has consistently championed the agenda of the Israel Defence Forces within FIFA’s Israel/Palestine Task Force proceedings (Attachment 2). Israelis have used false security concerns to justify the continuing suppression of Palestinian football, (detailed in a 42 page report) in defiance of sport law and humanitarian law. No other country in FIFA suffers another country’s repression of its football as Palestine does.
The IFA has broken FIFA Statute 3 (non-discrimination and stance against racism) repeatedly over many years. This is not surprising since Israel itself has been found guilty of systematic racial segregation (apartheid) in March 2012 by the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The IFA’s offences simply mirror crimes against humanity that are widespread in Israeli society – crimes that, tragically, are getting worse not better.
FIFA has a proud history of opposition to racism. Its exclusion of South Africa from membership for 30 years arguably contributed to the demise of apartheid in that country. You now have the opportunity to take a similar stand once more.
Examples of killings of footballers and the detention of players are given in Attachments 3 and 4.
Thank you for giving these matters your most serious consideration.
Red Card Israeli Racism campaign
MOTION SUBMITTED BY THE PALESTINIAN FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
TO THE 28-29 MAY 2015 FIFA ANNUAL CONGRESS
The FIFA Congress decide to suspend the Israel Football Association (IFA) from FIFA until:
1.1) The Israel Football Association, or Israeli authorities, submit written guarantees to FIFA that it will respect the FIFA statutes by recognizing that the Palestine Football Association is the sole governing body responsible for organizing and supervising football in all of its forms in the territory of Palestine (Article 10-1 of the FIFA Statutes). This warrants that all football activities organized on Palestinian territories by clubs, players and officials affiliated to the Palestine FA can be developed unhindered.
1.2) The following clubs are banned from playing football in competitions organized by the IFA because they are located in the internationally-recognized territory of Palestine and because they participate in these competitions without the FIFA authorization defined as per Article 84 of the same FIFA statutes (as mentioned in the PFA letter to FIFA dated 30 November 2014).
- Hapo’el Bika’at H’Yarden 2nd tier South A league
- Beitar Ironei Ma’ale Adumim 2nd tier South B league
- Beitar Giva’at Ze’iv Shvi 2nd tier South B League
- Beitar Ironei Ariel 5th tier Sharon league
- Alitzur Ironei Yehuda 5th tier south league
1.3) The Israel FA shall fully recognize that the Palestine FA is entitled to enjoy the following rights without any restriction or intervention from the Israeli occupation or any other third party
(i) The right of movement of football people and goods into, out of, and within Palestine including East Jerusalem.
(ii) The right of the PFA to develop football infrastructure and facilities in the territory of Palestine including East Jerusalem.
(iii) The right to import and export sport goods in and out of Palestine.
1.4) The Israel FA shall uphold its obligation to FIFA in taking a stance against discrimination and racism (Article 3 of the FIFA statutes) by taking serious measures against racism and human rights violations within its area of jurisdiction.
After this guarantee will be given to FIFA, a reliable and robust monitoring system would be established by FIFA to ensure the full implementation of these rights based on a memorandum of understanding which will be signed by FIFA, the PFA, the IFA, and witnessed by the AFC and the UEFA.
WHEREAS and finally, the PFA reaffirms solemnly and officially that:
(i) Its only goal is to obtain for the Palestinian football community the same rights defined by the FIFA Statutes and enjoyed by the all other MAs,
(ii) The security considerations cannot constitute the alibi for arbitrary decisions taken without any justification,
(iii) the PFA fully recognizes the authority of the IFA on its football and look forward to mutual recognition in line with the FIFA Statutes,
PFA 19 March 2015
The Israeli – Palestine Task Force
Lack of Progress
- After the 2013 FIFA Congress Mr Blatter established an Israel/Palestine Task Force aimed at improving the situation of football in Palestine by facilitating the movement of players, referees and equipment in and out of and within Palestine.
- At the 2014 FIFA Congress Mr Blatter promised “an independent committee or person” to monitor the progress of the Task Force. Costakis Koutsokoumnis was duly appointed to fulfil that role, but only until the end of 2014. His involvement then ended.
- FIFA reported in December that the Executive Committee “expects the pace of implementation to accelerate in the coming months”. No mechanism has been proposed to achieve this.
- The PFA considers that the Task Force has reached a dead end.
The role of the IFA in the Task Force
The IFA has been at pains to assure the world of its goodwill towards Palestinian sport. In practice it has consistently advanced the obstructive agenda of the Israel Defence Forces.
Before the Task Force had even met, the IFA had declared to FIFA that “the Palestine Football Association must operate through the formal channels of the State of Israel” – appearing to advocate third party interference in the PFA’s affairs and so contravene FIFA’s Statutes.
The IFA Liaison Officer, Ronen Hershco, has been obstructive and insulting
- He contrived to bar PFA Deputy General Secretary Mohammed Amassi from attending a simple youth event in November 2013 and falsely claimed that the FIFA mechanism did not apply to officers of the PFA.
- He reacted to a vicious police assault on Coach Basel Mahmoud of Al Isawiyah FC by falsely claiming that “Mr. Basel did not have a valid permit to be in Israel on the date that the incident may have taken place”. Some expression of sympathy and concern would have been more appropriate.
These incidents provide a window onto the IFA’s true role within the Task Force. It has operated as an adjunct of the state. This appears to be the IFA’s normal practice – indeed it was declared at a Knesset hearing of 23/12/09 that, “The State Comptroller, by law, regulates the association, due to its being a public institution as well as being a supported institution: the State of Israel contributes to its budget.” It seems the IFA has little or no institutional independence.
The IFA’s response to PFA grievances was perfectly illustrated when it asserted that, “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Association Chairman Avi Luzon and the heads of the IDF are trying constantly to help the Palestinian Authority maintain a life of sports as long as it does not put the security of the State of Israel and its citizens in danger.” This is the same prime minister and IDF leadership that:
- bars sports professionals from travel
- obstructs the development of facilities and the import of equipment
- imprisons and tortures leading players
- assaults, shoots and bombs Palestinian sports professionals alongside their fellow citizens.
None of these crimes enhances Israel’s security – quite the opposite. The IFA has mistaken the unswerving endorsement of government policy for the discharge of its duties. It must bear considerable blame for the failure of the Task Force to secure change.
Detention of players
Over the years Israel has subjected a number of leading Palestine national team players to lengthy periods of detention. Detainees are routinely subjected to torture and ill-treatment. They can be held for unlimited periods without charge under the Administrative Detention or Illegal Combatant laws. If charged it can be on the basis of secret evidence, evidence obtained under torture and threat, or no evidence at all.
- striker with Islami Qalqilya FC
- detained without charge for over seven months
- arrested for carrying donated funds to deliver to his club’s chairman
- he was slandered in the world’s media by Israeli Sports Minister Limor Livnat
- since his release he has been prevented from travelling with the national team.
- Club chairman Shreim has also been detained and the club has been forcibly closed down
- former top striker with Khadamat Rafah FC
- detained without charge 22/07/2009 – 10/07/2012
- spent 97 days on hunger strike
- only released after an international campaign
- he has always maintained his innocence
- his football career was ruined;
- he has toured Europe giving details of his torture
former captain of Shabab Al Amari FC and Olympic squad goalkeeper
- turned down offers to play abroad
- former Palestinian Red Crescent employee
- detained since 20/02/12
- now serving a 9-year sentence for possession of a weapon and firing on a military vehicle
- He has always maintained his innocence
- former striker with Shabab Al Khader FC
- detained without charge 17/09/2007 – 12/04/2009
- re-arrested with Omar Abu Rweis
- served 14 months 20/02/12 to 20/03/13 on charges related to attack on a military vehicle,
- He has always maintained his innocence
In Memoriam. Football-related killings since the 2014 FIFA Congress
Mohammed Abu Khdeir
- kidnapped and burned alive 2/07/2014
- three standing trial for the crime
- police have said the accused are members of La Familia who met the night before at an anti-Arab protest organised by La Familia
- Mohammed’s father says: “…at court my son’s murderers look at me and laugh and enjoy themselves.”
Mohammed Al Qatari
- shot in the chest while detained by soldiers on 8/08/2014
Cousins Mohammed Ramiz Bakr, Ahed Atif Bakr, Zakaria Ahed Bakr & Ismail Mohammed Bakr (11, 10 & 9 years old) – shot from gunships while playing football on the beach, 16/07/2014
Oda’i Nafez Jabr (Kharbatha Bani Harith FC) shot while demonstrating, 1/08/2014
The following killed by airstrikes during assault on Gaza 8/07/2014 – 26/08/2014:
Ahed Afif Zaqqout (coach, Gaza Al Reyade FC) ·
Ahmed Yosuf Dalol (coach, Al Taawon Al Reyade FC) ·
Fared Mohammed Ahmed (coach, Al Aqsa Al Reyade FC) ·
Abd Al Rahman Azameli (Al Zaytoun Al Reyade FC) ·
Bashar Ahmed (Khadmat Jabalya FC) ·
Ahmed Salah Abu Sido (Al Tofa Al Reyade FC) ·
Alaa Abd Al Majid Abu Dahroug (Shabab Etihad Deir Al Balah FC) ·
Ahmed Hassan Al Ghalban (Maan Al Reyade FC) ·
Mahmoud Farahat (Al Soltan Al Reyade FC) ·
Alaa Jamal Abd Rabbo (Al Jazeera Al Reyade FC) ·
Mahmoud Mohammed Al Jourani (Khadamat Deir Al Balah FC) ·
Yehia Ibrahim Saed Abu Harbed (Ahle Beit Hanoun FC) ·
Abed Rabbo Chaibob Al Shinbari (Ahle Beit Hanoun FC) ·
Baha Al Din Al Ghareeb (referee, PFA) ·
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