update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Israel threatens to ban PA soccer association head from travel

If Jibril Rajoub "doesn't stop—we will imprison him in the Muqata'a," said Foreign Minister Israel Katz.

Fatah leader Jibril Rajoub in Jerusalem, April 2, 2008. Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90.
Fatah leader Jibril Rajoub in Jerusalem, April 2, 2008. Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90.

After the head of the Palestinian Football Association demanded that the Jewish state be banned from international competitions due to the war against Hamas in Gaza, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz on Thursday threatened to revoke his travel pass.

“Jibril Rajoub, a terrorist in a suit who openly supported Hamas’s crimes, is working around the clock to get Israel removed from the international soccer association,” tweeted Katz, tagging FIFA.

“We will work to thwart his plans, and if he doesn’t stop—we will imprison him in the Muqata’a [presidential compound in Ramallah], where he will be left to play Stanga by himself between the walls,” added Katz, referring to a soccer-like game popular with Israeli children.

Last month, the Palestinian Football Association submitted a request to FIFA for Israel to be banned from competing in international games over “the loss of innocent lives, including no less than 99 footballers” during the ongoing war against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

The motion, which is expected to be discussed at the FIFA Congress in Bangkok on May 17, has so far garnered support from the soccer associations of Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Yemen.

Earlier this year, Rajoub, who is also a senior official in the P.A.’s ruling Fatah faction and a former head of the P.A.’s Preventive Security Force in Judea and Samaria, eulogized slain Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri as an “extraordinary national leader,” saying his alleged targeted killing by Israel in Beirut was “as much of a loss for Fatah just as it is a loss for Hamas.”

Rajoub told Palestinian TV he met with al-Arouri, who was based in Lebanon, on Oct. 6—a day before Hamas invaded Israel, killing some 1,200 people, wounding thousands and kidnapping as many as 250 men, women and children.

“I am among the believers in his ideology, his way, and his activity,” Rajoub said, calling on young Palestinians to follow Hamas in “perfecting the resistance [terrorism] and confrontation with the occupation [Israel].”

In late November, Rajoub likewise expressed support for the Oct. 7 massacre and warned of a similar attack in Judea and Samaria.

“What happened on October 7 was a natural reaction to oppression. Those who rule Israel are an example of neo-Nazis. The fascist occupation sinks in its own swamp. Oct. 7 should be a turning point in our treatment of the occupation and its crimes,” he told Egypt’s MBC News.

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