Settlement clubs: RCIR letter to Sexwale and Infantino

Settlement clubs: RCIR letter to Sexwale and Infantino

The following letter was sent to Mr Sexwale to emphasise the illegalities of settlement teams playing in Israeli leagues.

Red Card Israeli Racism Campaign

PO Box BM PSA, London, WC1N 3XX

19 August 2016

Mr Tokyo Sexwale, Chairman,

Israel-Palestine Monitoring Committee,

Federation Internationale de Football Association,

FIFA-Strasse 20,

P.O.Box 8044,

Zurich,  Switzerland

Dear Mr Sexwale,

Occupied Palestinian Territories

and football teams from illegal Israeli settlements

I am writing to you as a Committee chairman with a strong record of fighting oppression and apartheid.

At the 66th Annual FIFA Congress on 13 May 2016 you referred to the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza as “disputed” and “contested” territories.

The nomenclature used to describe these territories is certainly a very sensitive topic for the Israeli government.  However, the rest of the world has long considered these territories not as disputed or contested but as “occupied” by Israel.  The 2004 opinion of the International Court gave clear legal endorsement of that description. The United Nations and the European Union always refer to these territories as occupied.

Furthermore, according to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention the Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory are illegal.  There is worldwide recognition of this illegality, except by Israel.  Inclusion of settlement football teams in israeli leagues validates the existence of illegal settlements, negates the authority of the Palestinian Football Association, and hinders the Palestinian right to self determination thereby violating Palestinian human rights.

Therefore, with the greatest of respect, we call on the Israeli Palestine Monitoring Committee to recognise the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza as occupied and the settlement clubs as illegal.  The implication for Israel is that it must withdraw the settlement football teams from the Israeli leagues and competitions – just as Crimean teams were forbidden to play in Russian leagues.  If it does not, then we feel that there is no option for FIFA other than to suspend the Israeli Football Association.

It is important that FIFA does not undermine international law in any way.  FIFA must heed the recent Ruggie report on respect for human rights across FIFA.  An occupation which is fundamentally racist against Palestinians and which displays all the characteristics of apartheid should not be given even the slightest hint of support by FIFA.

cc  Mr Gianni Infantino, President, FIFA

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