JERUSALEM, June 12 (UPI) — Israeli police recently arrested a Palestinian footballer, alleging that the man, Samah Fares Mahmad Marava, met a Hamas militant in Qatar and helped deliver money to the group’s operatives in the West Bank.
Marava — a resident of Kalkilya, a Palestinian city in the West Bank, and a player for his nation’s soccer team — apparently met with the militant, Talal Ibrahim Abd al-Rahman Sarim, while traveling with his compatriots on a soccer tour through the Middle East.
According to Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, the suspect has confessed to the meeting and to helping the man deliver money, a cell phone and written messages back to Hamas’s operatives in Kalkilya.
The militant, Sarim, had previously been serving a life sentence for his Hamas dealings, but was released as part of a prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas negotiated three years ago.
Meanwhile, in Brazil, where the 2014 World Cup is set to kick off, Palestine Football Association President (PFA) Jibril Rajoub called on FIFA to place sanctions on Israel’s footballing body for restricting the movement of Palestinian players from the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
Rajoub told reporters he came to Brazil to participate in the FIFA congress and to fight for the “removal of restrictions on the Palestinian player and the freeing of Palestinian sportspeople from this racist Israeli occupation that has no place in history.”
Earlier this week, the PFA said Israel prevented one of its senior delegates from traveling to the World Cup in Brazil.