Monday, October 25, 2021

Palestine cancels meeting with FIFA president over Jerusalem event

The FIFA president attended an event at a museum built over a Muslim cemetery in East Jerusalem.

• October 12, 2021
FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Jibril Rajoub

The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) says it has cancelled a meeting with FIFA president Gianni Infantino at short notice.

PFA said the cancellation was in protest at his taking part in an event at the Museum of Tolerance built over a Muslim cemetery in East Jerusalem.

The PFA said in a statement on Tuesday that Mr Infantino attending the museum was a “total affront” to FIFA’s “values of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence.”

Mr Infantino attended the event on Monday alongside former American ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

Israel conquered the West Bank and East Jerusalem, among other territories, in 1967. The Palestinians want the territories for their state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as capital.

Mr Infantino recently said Israel’s normalising relationships with Arab neighbours – the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco – could lead to the region co-hosting tournaments.

“Why can’t we dream of the World Cup in Israel and its neighbours?” Infantino was quoted as asking.

“Why should we not do it here in Israel with her neighbours in the Middle East and the Palestinians?,” he said.

In 2018, FIFA banned PFA president Jibril Rajoub for 12 months after he urged fans of Lionel Messi to burn shirts and posters of the superstar if he were to play a friendly for Argentina against Israel in Jerusalem. The match was eventually scrapped.

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