Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday blasted the Palestinian Authority (PA) for its provocation, after Palestinian Football Association chairman Jibril Rajoub withdrew his bid to have Israel banned from FIFA.
“Our international effort has proven itself and led to the failure of the Palestinian Authority attempt to oust us from FIFA. I thank all those took part in the international effort that led to the failure of this attempt, including the Israeli delegation in Switzerland led by Israel Football Association Chairman Ofer Eini,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
“The State of Israel is interested in a peace that will ensure security for its citizens but this will not be achieved through coercion and distorting the truth. The only way to achieve peace is to begin negotiations between the sides,” he continued.
“This Palestinian provocation joins the unilateral steps that the Palestinians are taking at other international institutions. So long as they take these steps they will only push peace further away instead of bringing it closer,” said Netanyahu.
“At a time when the international community is calling for confidence-building measures, the Palestinians are once again replying with an attempt to carry out unilateral steps that harm the ability to advance a regional settlement,” he concluded
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely welcomed the PA’s withdrawal of the bid, saying she “welcomes the fact that we did not reach an absurd situation in which a country like Israel is suspended from an organization dealing with sport.”
“In the future, as well, we will take all measures against countries and entities that promote the delegitimization of Israel,” she continued. “These bodies cannot influence the decisions of an international organization.”
Netanyahu, Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog (Labor), and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid have each spoken strongly against the vote at FIFA over the past 24 hours, warning that such a vote would set a precedent for the sports organization to make decisions based on global politics and regional security issues.
Critics have noted that FIFA is hosting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in December of that year, despite its numerous human rights violations and a host of security issues for all players involved; it also has not intervened in the soccer potential for other human rights violators, such as Saudi Arabia or Iran.