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Head of Palestinian Football Association accuses Israel of “politicizing” sport, while calling on Argentina to avoid match against Israel in “occupied Jerusalem”

Headline: “Rajoub calls on Argentina to avoid participating in a football match on Jerusalem’s soil”
    “Chairman of the [PLO] Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs and the Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub called on Argentina to avoid participating in the friendly football match [with Israel] that is expected to take place on June 9 [2018] in occupied Jerusalem, as part of the Argentinian national team’s preparations for the World Cup. Rajoub expressed his opposition and condemnation of the Israeli occupation government’s decision to hold the match. He emphasized that Israel is politicizing the sport… This was said in an official protest letter that Rajoub sent to the Argentine Football Association, the South American Football Confederation [CONMEBOL], and also to FIFA and UEFA – both of which Israel belongs to, to the Union of Arab Football Associations, and the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation… Rajoub expressed deep concern over the match being held in occupied Jerusalem, which constitutes clear submission ‘to the heavy political pressures that the government of Israel and its ministers have exerted, as Israeli Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev openly boasted.’ He added: ‘Israel, the occupying power, has politicized the sport in a way that contradicts the moral standards and international values that determine the principles of the sport. This match has been covered in the Argentinian media as being held in honor of ‘the 70th anniversary celebrations of the State of Israel,’ while the match will take place at a sports field that was built on the land of the village Al-Maliha, one of 500 Palestinian villages that Israel, the occupying power, destroyed during the great Nakba (i.e., “the catastrophe,” the Palestinian term for the establishment of the State of Israel) that it caused our people in 1948, 70 years ago.’ He added: ‘As senior Israeli officials have explained in statements they gave regarding the change in the match’s location, the Israeli authorities are planning to take the Argentinian national team to the Old City of Jerusalem, which is occupied Palestinian land according to international law. In this way the occupation government has violated these international values and exploited the Israel Football Association as a political tool in order to normalize the illegal annexation of occupied East Jerusalem, and to mislead the Argentinian public opinion by presenting the city as “united Jerusalem of the Jewish people.”’”
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Jibril Rajoub also holds the following positions: Fatah Central Committee Secretary, Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee, and Chairman of the Palestinian Scout Association (PSA).

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