Palestine Football Association cancels meeting with FIFA president

RAMALLAH, Tuesday, October 12, 2021 (WAFA) – The Palestine Football Association (PFA) today announced the cancellation of a meeting with FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

President of the APF Jibril Rajoub was supposed to meet Infantino in Ramallah, but decided to cancel the meeting at the last minute due to the latter’s presence at an event with former US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman at the “Museum of Tolerance”, built on the historic Islamic cemetery of Momullah, in the occupied city of East Jerusalem.

The PFA said in a press release that it “regrets the decision of FIFA President Gianni Infantino, to participate in two events taking place today at the so-called “Museum of Tolerance ”, a building built on the Momullah Islamic Cemetery, the oldest Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem dating from the 11e century ”, while noting that he considers his participation“ as a total affront to the values ​​of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence, both approved by the FIFA statutes ”.

He explained that he had received a letter from Infantinolast Thursday, in which he expressed “his wish to visit both Palestine and Israel on Monday 11e and said he had been invited to speak at some events in Israel and hoped to meet with political leaders from both countries to discuss the issues that have long hampered the development of football in Palestine and find possible solutions outstanding issues.

While PFA, as stated in the statement, viewed the letter in a very positive light and began preparations for the long-awaited visit, it simultaneously notified
Infantino’s office of the importance of not taking part in any activity organized by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as defined by international law, including East Jerusalem.

“We have received confirmation that the president is well aware of our considerations,” the statement added.

During his visit to Palestine, Infantino was to hold meetings with the political level, the PFA Executive Committee and partners. He was also to lay the foundation stone for the PFA technical center and kick off the final match of the seven-a-side women’s league.

While preparations were underway, the PFA received reports that the FIFA president, at the invitation of lawyers notorious for violations of international law and denial of inalienable Palestinian rights, will participate in the inauguration of the so-called “Museum of Tolerance” and a conference there, which was an intolerable shock, since this building was illegally constructed on the confiscated land of the Momullah Islamic cemetery, a place declared a historic site by the Supreme Muslim Council in 1927, and an “antiquities site” by the British Mandate of Palestine in 1944. It contains the remains of thousands of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims including graves were desecrated by the building of the conference venue, ”the statement added.

The president of the PFA Rajoub wrote an urgent letter to the FIFA President, urging him not to participate in events as this would send a conflicting message with “his public messages regarding FIFA’s commitment to human rights and values of peaceful coexistence “.

In his letter, Rajoub warned Infantinothat “this participation will be seen by many FIFA members as a politicization of football, which the FIFA President has categorically opposed” and “went further by saying that the participation of the FIFA President will be considered a desecration of the Holy Place and not helping to bring people together, but rather to separate them.

“The PFA had hoped that the visit of the FIFA President would bring hope to Palestinian footballers by starting to solve the problems which hamper the development of football in Palestine, a country which nevertheless suffers from the Israeli occupation. We did not expect a visit to support evangelical Zionist groups that advocate denial of Palestinian rights, ”the statement added.

“By deciding to ignore our concerns, and since we do not have the right to interfere with the agenda of a FIFA president, our only alternative was to send our regrets that we were unable to receive the delegation. of FIFA in such circumstances. “


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