Senior Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub. (AP/Nasser Shiyoukhi) AP/Nasser Shiyoukhi
Jibril Rajoub

In order to harm Israel, the Palestinians are abusing the basic values of international sportsmanship and the spirit upon which Olympic sports are founded.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) pursues any possible venue to delegitimize Israel and undermine its existence, even using sports to do so.

The latest such incident occurred Monday when the Palestinian Olympic Committee POC) claimed its delegation’s uniforms are being held up by Israeli authorities.

Munther Masalmeh, secretary-general of the POC, claimed clothes and equipment purchased for the team have yet to clear customs. He said the team of six was forced to leave for Rio de Janeiro without them.

The Israel Tax Authority, which oversees customs, says it has heard nothing of the matter but would be happy to assist if approached by the Palestinians.

Israel and the Palestinians have clashed before over sporting issues.

The Palestinians previously called on FIFA to expel Israel from tournaments over restrictions it had placed on its players’ movements. Israel says some Palestinian athletes have terror ties and the restrictions were purely security measures.

The head of the Palestinian soccer federation, Jibril Rajoub, last week submitted a complaint to the international soccer governing body, FIFA, after Israel prevented seven soccer players and staff from traveling from the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority.

Rajoub, a terrorist who served time in Israeli prison, says the Shabab Khan Younis players were attempting to attend the final Palestine Cup match in Hebron. The game, scheduled for Saturday, was postponed.

The Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) said the team members were barred due to “severe negative security background.”

An example of Palestinian exploitation of sports for terrorism is that of Samah Fares Muhamed Marava, a Palestinian soccer player, who was arrested by the Shin Bet in June 2014 for meeting with a Hamas terrorist in Qatar, which he had covered up as part of his team’s soccer tour.

Marava, of Qalqilya, left Israel with his team on a soccer tour in April. While in Qatar, he met with Talal Ibrahim Abd al-Rahman Sarim, a member of Hamas’s military wing, where he received money, a cellphone and written messages that he was to bring to Hamas terrorists in his hometown.

The Shin Bet said Marava “cynically exploited” his status as a soccer player to leave the country and make contacts with foreign Hamas agents.

Palestinian Abuse of Sports for Terrorism

In 2015, Rajoub asked FIFA to suspend the Israeli soccer association because of restrictions on Palestinian players.

Israel has asked FIFA to condemn Rajoub’s hailing of Palestinians who attack Israelis as courageous heroes.

The PA and Fatah, its ruling party, headed by PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, routinely disrespect the basic values of international sportsmanship and the spirit upon which Olympic sports are founded, as documented extensively by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).

The PA’s abuse of sports is a concrete example of how the Palestinian leadership chooses to entrench the conflict rather than working to resolve it, PMW points out. The PA uses sports to send the message that murdering Israeli civilians is honorable and heroic, that all of Israel is “Palestine,” and that peace building or “normalization” with Israel is prohibited and, in fact, a crime.

Sports events are used as a vehicle to educate Palestinian children that terror against Israeli civilians is heroic. The PA and Fatah have named many sporting events after terrorist murderers, including those who were involved in the most barbaric attacks.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff