In a letter issued on May 4th, over 170 Palestinian football clubs and sports associations urged FIFA to immediately suspend the Israeli Football Associationâs (IFA) membership for its inclusion of seven football clubs that are Â based in illegal settlements.
The letter comes just days before FIFAâs annual Congress where FIFA is scheduled to make a decision on Israelâs settlement-based clubs, which contravene both international law and FIFAâs own statutes.
Palestinian athletic clubs call on FIFA to âuphold human rights and implement FIFA statutes without discrimination at the upcoming congress on May 11â by immediately suspending IFAâs membership for its inclusion of sports clubs that are based in illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The letter cautions that âPalestinian football rights, FIFAâs reputation as champion of human rightsâ depend on FIFAâs decision in this regard.
Sports clubs from across the occupied West Bank added their name to the letter including the Hilal Al Quds Club, The Beit Sahour Womenâs Club, Hebron Youth Club, Orthodox Club in Bethlehem, Biâlin ClubÂ and Dheisheh Youth Athletic Club.
Palestinian clubs recall FIFAâs âhistoric role in the fight against apartheid in South Africa when it expelled the South African Football Association at its 1976 congress.â They urge FIFA to once again take this âhistoric opportunityâ to show a serious commitment to human rights.
The letter raises concern over reports that FIFA will give the IFA six months to exclude settlement teams, seeing it as a continuation of FIFAâs delays. âTwo years of attempts by the FIFA Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine to rectify this issue should be proof enough that the status quo should not be extended,â the letter states.
This letter follows an international appeal from over 120 civil society organizations representing millions from across the globe, whichÂ called on FIFA to make a decision to exclude Israeli teams based in illegal settlements its congress.
TheÂ Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)Â was initiated in 2004 to contribute to the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. PACBI advocates for the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, given their deep and persistent complicity in Israelâs denial of Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law. Visit PACBI atÂ https://bdsmovement.net/pacbiÂ and follow us on TwitterÂ @PACBI
Christopher Carlson is a full-time student of Religious Studies at Mount Mercy University, USA. He has been with the IMEMC since 2013. (firstname.lastname@example.org)