As events marking Israel's national Remembrance Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror open, over 30 victim families of Palestinian terror signed a letter of complaint to FIFA's Disciplinary Committee. In the complaint, the victims charge the Palestinian Football Association and its president, Jibril Rajoub, with breaching two provisions of FIFA’s Statutes and two provisions of FIFA's Disciplinary Code.
The detailed complaint, based on evidence gathered by Palestinian Media Watch and signed by tens of bereaved family members who subscribe to OneFamily, an Israeli NPO founded to support terror victims and their families, highlights four main points: (1) The PFA and Rajoub glorify terrorists by naming sporting events after them and allowing clubs that are members in the PFA to glorify terrorists on a regular basis. For example, the PFA holds an annual Football Contest named after Halil Al Wazir – Abu Jihad, one of the founding members of the PLO who, according to Palestinian sources, is responsible for the deaths of 125 Israelis. Similarly, Rajoub is on record saying that acts of terrorism perpetrated during the recent wave of terror are "Individual acts of bravery" and "That he is proud" of the perpetrators. (2) Rajoub incites terrorism. The president is quoted congratulating Hamas for the kidnap[ing of Gilad Shalit and, in February 2014, calling for similar abductions. Shortly after his proclamation, Hamas terrorists commenced the planning of the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teens Gilad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach. (3) Rajoub refers to Israelis with racist and derogatory language, calling them "the satan" and invoking Nazi-era language by saying that "Were Hitler to come [here], he would have learned from them how to oppress humans." (4) The PFA and Rajoub prohibit using football as a "bridge for peace."
The petition was signed by families of terror victims during a weekend retreat organized and sponsored by OneFamily. Among the bereaved family members who signed the complaint are Brenda and Nachum Lemkus, whose daughter Dalia was murdered in November 2014; and Doron Mizrachi, father of Ziv Mizrachi who was murdered in November 2015.
Brenda Lemkus said: "Our darling daughter Dalya was murdered as a result of the constant incitement of the Palestinians and their glorification of terrorists. When we heard that the incitement and glorification of terrorists was so widespread in Palestinian football we didn't think twice about joining the campaign and signing a complaint. The incitement has to stop."
OneFamily CEO Chantal Belzberg says: "Football is a game played all over the world. It is supposed to unite people from different backgrounds and promote peace among nations. Sadly, the PFA has opted to turn it into a weapon of terror. We know what it means for a bereaved family to suddenly discover that the terrorists who slayed their loved one are ‘heroes’ whose actions are promoted by the PFA on football fields. We're determined to put an end to these shameful activities."
Maurice Hirsch, the Director of the Legal Department of Palestinian Media Watch said, "The evidence against the PFA and Rajoub is extensive and unequivocal. We are confident that FIFA will apply its own Statutes and Codes and find that the PFA and Rajoub have breached some of the most important provisions. FIFA cannot and should not tolerate incitement to violence, racism and glorification of terrorists by a member association. If the complaint is found to be justified, FIFA will have no choice but to sanction the PFA and Rajoub."
Itamar Marcus, the Director of Palestinian Media Watch said, "If FIFA ignores the complaint, it will be a disgrace for all the member associations and a permanent stain of FIFA's reputation."
By signing the petition, the victims join a worldwide campaign of NGOs against the PFA and Rajoub. The campaign is spearheaded by Palestinian Media Watch in cooperation with UK lawyers for Israel, The Lawfare Project in America, and Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.