The Israel Institute for Strategic Studies researches and exposes important regional and global strategic and security developments. These include issues relating to terrorism.
We are writing to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee to highlight a history of more than fifteen (15) years of the exploitation of football for the promotion of terrorism by Jibril Rajoub, the Palestinian Football Association, its officials and teams.
We are certain that, given the facts, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee must come to the inevitable conclusion that the above parties have been in a prolonged and serious breach of FIFA ethics and rules and that their behavior is in grave contravention of the traditions and purity of football.
If it was right for FIFA to launch a campaign to Kick Racism out of Football, how much more important is it for FIFA to launch a similar campaign to KICK TERRORISM OUT OF FOOTBALL.
With the racism campaign, FIFA acted to protect people being insulted or racially abused at football events. How much more serious is it when people are killed and maimed by terrorists glorified at Palestinian football events, by their clubs and leading officials?
Here are a few examples of terror-promotion inside Palestinian football;
- In 2007, a football tournament was organized in the Palestinian-controlled town of Tulkarm. This tournament was held in the honor of Ziyad Da’as. Da’as was the leader of the Tanzim terror faction of Fatah. He planned and executed a terror attack on a Bat-Mitzvah (a Jewish 13th birthday) celebration in Hadera which left six dead and dozens wounded on January 17, 2002. Da’as also participated in the kidnapping and murder of two Israeli citizens, Etgar Zeituni and Moti Dayan, in Tulkarm in January 2001. Yet this terrorist is hailed as a hero and a martyr in Palestinian football.
- On August 5, 2008, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the official Palestinian daily newspaper reported that the Islami Silwan Football Club won the Dalal Mughrabi Football Championship organized by the Palestinian football champions, the Hilal Al-Quds football team. This event was held under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of Dalal Mughrabi. Mughrabi was one of thirteen (13) Fatah terrorists that hijacked an Israeli bus between Haifa and Tel Aviv on March 9, 1978. As a result of this terror attack, 37 Israeli civilians were killed including 12 children and 70 were wounded. She is considered a hero and martyr and has been celebrated in football events.
- In March 2011, the Al-Amari Palestinian Youth Center announced a football tournament in honor of Wafa Idris. Idris was the first Palestinian female suicide bomber.
- On April 28, 2014, according to the official Palestinian daily newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, a two day football tournament was held in honor of the perpetrator of the Munich Olympic massacre in which eleven (11) Israeli sportsmen were killed. The Jalazone Refugee Camp Martyrs Internal Football Tournament was held under the patronage of the District Governor of Ramallah and El-Bireh. Two of the teams that progressed to the second round were the Martyr Abu Iyad (the terrorist planner of the Olympic Games Massacre) and Martyr Abu Jihad (the terrorist mastermind responsible for the deaths of 125 Israelis).
- In October 2014, another football competition was held in the Palestinian territories at Tapuach in which teams were named after terrorists including Ahmed Yassin, the founder of the Hamas terror organization, and Fathi Shaqaqi, the founder of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Shaqaqi’s terror organization killed and wounded hundreds of Israelis including a suicide bomb attack in the Maxim Restaurant in Haifa, a double suicide bombing attack at the Beit Lid bus station, others at the Megiddo junction, the Dizengoff shopping mall in Tel Aviv, two suicide bombings at Netanya’s HaSharon shopping mall, a bombing at the Tel Aviv central bus station, and an attack on an Eilat bakery.
- On June 17, 2016, the Palestinian football clubs, Al-Amid and Al-Ghazalan, held a football match for the Basel Sidr Cup in honor of Basel Sidr who was killed by Israeli security forces on October 14, 2015 as he attempted to stab Israeli policemen outside the Old City of Jerusalem.
- On October 9, 2016, Musbah Abu Sbeih murdered three (3) Israeli citizens and injured five (5) others in three drive-by shooting attacks. On the day of the attack Sbeih was due to hand himself in on charges of inciting terror and supporting the Hamas terrorist organization. Instead, he went on a rampage which killed Levana Malachi, a grandmother, and 29 year-old Yosef Kirma. Two days later, on October 11, the players and officials of the Hilal Al-Quds football team were photographed holding up a large banner carrying the picture of the terrorist Sbeih praising him and calling him the “Lion of Jerusalem.” The Hilal Al-Quds football club is the leading Palestinian champion soccer team. Days after this exhibition, the coach of this club, Maher Abu Sneineh, was arrested by Israel on charges of displaying a public support for terrorism.
- Our records on the promotion of terrorism through Palestinian football go back fifteen (15) years to 2002 when the Palestinian Authority sponsored a football competition in Tulkarm to celebrate their terrorists. In this tournament, eight football teams were named in honor of a terrorist. One of the teams was named after Mahmud Marmash, a suicide bomber who murdered five Israeli citizens and maimed 74 others when he exploded his suicide belt outside the entrance of the HaSharon shopping mall in Netanya. My wife, Carol, narrowly avoided death. She was on her way to the mall when I called her and asked her to return to our office. Had she continued she would have arrived at the entrance at the same time as this suicide bomber honored as a hero and a martyr in this Tulkarm football tournament. Another terrorist honored at this football competition was Abu al-Basset Oudeh. Oudeh was the suicide bomber that travelled from Tulkarm to my hometown of Netanya and blew up twenty nine (29) people and injured another 64 civilians in the Park Hotel as they gathered to celebrate the Jewish festival of Passover. This event became known as the Passover Massacre. Among the killed were Holocaust survivors. It was as a result of this outrage that I became a co-founder of the Netanya Terror Victims Organization to help the bereaved families of the dead and the injured. Meanwhile, Palestinian football events and Jibril Rajoub celebrate their “heroes” and glorify their deeds!
Article 3 of the FIFA Statutes states that;
“FIFA is committed to respecting all internationally recognized human rights and shall strive to promote the protection of these rights.”
The basic principle is reflected in Article 24 of FIFA’s Code of Ethics which states;
“Persons bound by this Code shall respect the integrity of others involved. They shall ensure that the personal rights of every individual whom they contact and who is affected by their actions is protected, respected and safeguarded.”
Jibril Rajoub, as the highest responsible official in Palestinian football and a FIFA Delegate, has been deliberately delinquent in abusing FIFA’s Code of Ethics and conduct and, in his words and actions, has promoted violence, terrorism and insults that have harmed and killed hundreds of Israeli civilians, men, women and children.
Jibril Rajoub has indoctrinated and educated Palestinian children and youth to praise and glorify violence and terror.
Here are some of the statements made by Jibril Rajoub;
- On July 17, 2013, the Ma’an independent Palestinian news agency reported: “Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association, Jibril Rajoub, eulogized released prisoner, Ahmad Jabarah Abu Sukkar, saying, ‘Before his pure soul, we emphasize our adherence to the principles and goals that he dedicated his long life to protect.’”
The “principles and goals” that Abu Sukkar set were that, in 1975, he loaded a refrigerator full of explosives and detonated it in the center of Jerusalem killing fifteen (15) people and leaving over sixty (60) people injured. After this terrorist’s death in 2013, Jibril Rajoub vowed “to continue his way of struggle.” Two months later, Jibril Rajoub, in a speech that was aired on the official Palestinian Authority TV channel, said that Abu Sukkar was “a legend who walked on earth, the most noble among the noble…I cannot but say that Abu Sukkar lived as a giant and died as a giant.”
- On November 20, 2013, Jibril Rajoub attended an event held at the Halhul Municipality in honor of three released terrorists. A published photograph (see PMW Complaint document, page 7) shows Jibril Rajoub with three terrorists. Two of the terrorists, Ziyad Mahmoud Ghneimat and Mustafa Ghneimat, had each been given life sentences by an Israeli court for the shooting and murder of two Israelis, Meir ben Yair and Michal Cohen in a forest on June 27, 1985. Michal Cohen was a 32 year-old nurse who left a husband and two small children. The third terrorist, Najeh Muqbil, was serving a sentence of 38 years for the murder of Yaakov Shalom on May 20, 1990. They were released early by Israel as part of a deal to persuade the Palestinian to return to peace negotiations. Instead, Jibril Rajoub glorified these murderers and presented plaques in their honor.
- Leila Khaled is a Palestinian terrorist who was arrested and convicted of two plane hijackings. In one of her hijacking attempts she was overpowered by Israeli security guards as she was holding hand grenades in her hands while the plane was in the air. On August 16, 2015, Jibril Rajoub said on official Palestinian Authority TV, ” I spoke about Leila Khaled, the fighter, the hero, the symbol...There are three sacred things that should not be maligned ‚Äì the fighter, the Martyr, and the prisoner, They are sacred. We should always speak positively about them, whether they are from PFLP, Fatah, Hamas, etc.”
- On October 17, 2015, during a wave of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, Jibril Rajoub appeared on official Palestinian TV and referred directly to the terror attacks calling them “individual acts of bravery, and I am proud of them. I congratulate everyone who carried them out and I say to you, we are proud of you…Whoever confronts, fights, dies as a Martyr, is arrested or injured, his identity is known. What I mean is that the fighter, the prisoner, or the Martyr, they are assets to the entire Palestinian people.”
- On January 6, 2016, Jibril Rajoub appeared on official Palestinian TV and on the Fatah-operated Awdah TV channel to “bless and encourage” terrorists, again referring to terrorist murderers as “heroes.” He said;
“I say that whoever carried out individual acts of heroism (terror) we in the Fatah movement bless and encourage them. We consider them heroes and a crown on the head of every Palestinian...beginning with our brother Muhannad Halabi.”
Muhannad Halabi killed Rabbi Nehamia Lavi and Aharon Bennett (Benita) as they were walking from their prayers in Jerusalem. He also seriously wounded Bennett’s wife, Adele, and injured their two-year old son. (See item 6 in the terror incident complaint above)
This leaves us, and FIFA, to ask what is the difference between Jibril Rajoub’s promotion and incitement of terrorism and that of ISIS’s Omar Al-Baghdadi, or Osama Bin Laden’s past exhortations to Al-Qaida terrorism?
Based on the evidence, does Jibril Rajoub have any place as a FIFA Delegate?
The time has come for FIFA to KICK TERRORISM OUT OF FOOTBALL.
As stipulated in Article 111 (2) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, we hereby request that the Committee hold a hearing on these claims and complaints against Jibril Rajoub, the Palestinian Football Association and their officials and their gross misconduct in the administration of Palestinian football.
The Israel Institute for Strategic Studies together with Palestinian Media Watch, UK Lawyers for Israel, and the Lawfare Project based in New York, have presented FIFA with our official complaint about the behavior of Jibril Rajoub, the Palestinian Football Association, and officials connected with Palestinian football at all levels which are blatantly in contradiction to the ethics and rules of FIFA.
Please join us in this global campaign to have FIFA punish those bringing football into such disrepute and for them to KICK TERRORISM OUT OF FOOTBALL.
We will instruct you on what steps to take to make your voice effectively heard.