Haaretz Opinion zeros in on settlement clubs illegality

Haaretz Opinion zeros in on settlement clubs illegality

The following Opinion article was written by Rogel Alpha under the headline of “Israel on Verge of Being Dismissed From World Soccer Because of Settlement Teams”.  That’s a pretty extreme interpretation of the situation, but Israel will certainly need to take a step back by excluding the settlement teams from Israeli leagues.   This is the full text:

“The fans of Beitar Givat Ze’ev (see picture) — a soccer team that plays in the southern section of Israel’s third division  — may not know this, but their club is one of the five most important in Israel today. In fact, not in Israel. According to international consensus, Givat Ze’ev lies in what is defined as occupied Palestinian territory. This makes it a non-Israeli club playing in the Israel Football Association (IFA). In the first round of the Israeli State Cup, held in Givat Ze’ev last week, the club lost 2-0 to Beitar Nordia — a team established in 2014 by Beitar Jerusalem fans who got fed up with the racist behavior of La Familia (the Jerusalem club’s extremist fans).

There are four other settlement clubs playing within the framework of the IFA. They represent Ma’aleh Adumim, Kiryat Arba, Bikat Hayarden (in the Jordan Valley) and Ariel. However, there are currently 153,000 signatures on a global online petition calling on international soccer’s governing body, FIFA, to enforce its own rules and expel Israel from the organization. This would mean kicking it out of the World Cup, the European Championships, and the Champions League and Europa League.

As usual, Israelis who don’t want to know and who think the occupation is just dandy have yet to acknowledge the fact that, a month from now, this issue will come up for discussion at FIFA.
FIFA’s rules are unambiguous. They are not open to interpretation or an issue that allows for some discretion. Since 1998, FIFA has recognized the Palestinian Football Association and the league it operates, and it sees the West Bank as Palestinian territory. FIFA rules do not permit the Israeli soccer association to operate within the bounds of the Palestinian one without the express approval of FIFA and the Palestinian association. Obviously, such permission has never been given.

In order to abide by FIFA rules, Israel will have to move the activities of the teams from the settlements to within the 1967 borders (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev would rather swallow a cyanide capsule) or face being expelled from FIFA (ditto).

Joining the Palestinian league is not an option for these teams. According to a precedent set in Crimea, this is how FIFA deals with occupation: After Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, FIFA refused to recognize Crimean sides that joined the Russian league. According to international law, Crimea is under the jurisdiction of the Football Federation of Ukraine — just as Givat Ze’ev is under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian one.”

See the article at: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.742507?v=A50F3CB214C9E8A9D606CE11EF512A33



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