Families of Terror Victims Urge FIFA to Act Against Palestinian Soccer Chief’s Incitement

Jibril Rajoub
AP/Nasser Shiyoukhi
DEBORAH DANAN

TEL AVIV – More than 30 Israeli families who lost relatives to terror attacks have signed a letter to FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, accusing the Palestine Football Association (PFA) and its president, Jibril Rajoub, with severe violations of its statutes, including incitement to terrorism.

The letter charges the PFA with breaching two provisions of FIFA’s Statutes and two of the association’s Disciplinary Code.

Included in those violations are Palestinian soccer competitions named after Palestinian terrorists, such as an annual contest named in honor of PLO founder Khalil al-Wazir  who, according to Palestinian sources, was behind the deaths of more than 120 Israelis.

Rajoub himself, the letter says, has glorified violence and incited Palestinians, lauded recent terror attacks as “individual acts of bravery” and noted that “he is proud” of the perpetrators. He has also compared Israeli Jews to Satan. In February 2014 he called for the abduction of Israelis. Later that year three Israeli teenagers, Gilad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach, were kidnapped and murdered. Rajoub subsequently congratulated Hamas for carrying out the triple attack. He was quoted saying, “If we had a nuke, we’d have used it [against Israel] this very morning.”

The letter also said PFA’s boycott of Israel ran contradictory to FIFA’s commitment to using soccer as a “bridge to peace.” Rajoub has called for the expulsion of the Israel Football Association (IFA) and may use an upcoming FIFA summit in Bahrain to promote the idea again.

“We are aware that the Palestinian demand to expel the Israeli Football Association may be raised at the FIFA Council and Congress, respectively on 9 and 11 May,” said Shimon Samuels, the European representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC). “We call, on the contrary, for the Palestinian Football Association to be expelled until all names of terrorists are removed from Palestinian teams, tournaments and stadiums.”

Ronald Lauder — president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) — wrote to FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Thursday, telling him, “The campaign of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) to sanction Israel has no place on the FIFA Congress agenda.”

Rajoub himself is a former terrorist who spent 15 years in Israeli jails before being released in a 1985 prisoner swap. He has served in several senior positions in the PA, including chief of its secret police.

Among the bereaved family members who signed the letter to FIFA were Brenda and Nachum Lemkus, whose daughter Dalia was slain in November 2014, and Doron Mizrahi, father of Ziv Mizrachi, who was murdered in November 2015.

Brenda Lemkus said: “Our darling daughter Dalia was murdered as a result of the constant incitement of the Palestinians and their glorification of terrorists. When we heard that the incitement and glorification of terrorists was so widespread in Palestinian football, we didn’t think twice about joining the campaign and signing a complaint.”

Itamar Marcus, the director of Israeli monitoring group Palestinian Media Watch, which was in charge of gathering evidence against the PFA and Rajoub, said that if FIFA neglected to address the letter, “it will be a disgrace for all the member associations and a permanent stain of FIFA’s reputation.”

Last month, Rajoub received a court summons and compensation lawsuit for $250 million upon landing at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York over his alleged involvement in the killing of an American-Palestinian citizen in 1995.

Azam Rahim’s family, who live in the state of Texas, served the court summons on Tuesday. According to the charge sheet, on September 29, 1995 Rahim was arrested by Preventive Security officials and taken to a security facility where he was tortured to death.

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