Tuesday, September 29, 2015

  • Tuesday, September 29, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
From AFP:
Palestinian football's governing body has said it is "impossible" to accept FIFA's decision that it must play a 2018 World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia on neutral territory.

The fixture, set for October 13, had been scheduled to take place in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but Saudi Arabia on September 23 demanded that it be played on neutral ground.

The teams met each other in the Saudi city of Jeddah in June, with the Saudis winning 3-2.

That match was actually supposed to be played in Palestine but Saudi Arabia had refused to travel to the West Bank, citing undefined "exceptional circumstances."

Palestine agreed to the switch but had requested that the return fixture, originally scheduled to be played in Jeddah, be hosted by Palestine instead, thus essentially just reversing the home and away fixtures.

Palestinian FA officials said the Saudi decision could have been due to reluctance to pass through Israeli checkpoints on their way to the game.

On Monday, Saudi media said FIFA had agreed to transfer the October match to neutral territory.

The official SPA news agency said the country's FA had received the organizing committee's decision, in which "the international federation understands the justification put forward" by the Saudis to transfer the game.

It did not elaborate on what that justification was.

Many Arab national teams refuse to play in the West Bank, saying it "normalizes" Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.

Following the FIFA decision, Palestinian FA chief Jibril Rajoub said: "Depriving Palestine of the right to play at home is a dangerous precedent and impossible to accept under any conditions."

The World Cup organizing committee's decision does not say where the game against Saudi Arabia will be played or explain either the reason for the decision or the Saudi FA's objection to playing in the West Bank.

Israel controls all access to the occupied Palestinian territory, and Saudi Arabia has no diplomatic relations with Israel.

Cited by the Palestinian FA, Rajoub said he would lobby internationally to have the FIFA decision revoked.

But FIFA in its decision said the ruling is "final and binding."
On September 8, the UAE team traveled to play the Palestinian team at their al-Ram stadium, saying that they were happy to show solidarity with the Palestinians. They crossed Israeli checkpoints "in record time" with no incident.

But the Saudis successfully convinced FIFA that their hate for Israel is more important than their love for "Palestine" and their respect for the normal protocols of international sports.

This article shows that there is an acid test that can be made to find out if Arab countries are pro-Palestinian or just use the Palestinian cause as an excuse to show their hate for the Jewish state. When they spurn Palestinian pleadings, you can be very sure that they really don't give a hoot about Palestinians to begin with.

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