Palestine and Israel shake hands over new monitoring committee

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Fifa’s member associations passed a new motion for the formation of a committee to monitor the troubles

The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) and its Israeli counterpart shook hands on a new proposal to end their dispute after a chaotic exchange at the Fifa Congress in Zurich on Friday.

The PFA had originally requested the IFA were suspended from the world game’s governing body but opted to withdraw that demand with president Jibril Rajoub explaining he was persuaded to alter his stance due to the intervention of several Fifa members and South African politician Tokyo Sexwale.

Rajoub asked instead for the matter to be taken to the United Nations but was overruled when IFA president Ofer Eini instead suggested the formation of a new Fifa-led committee to monitor relations between the two.
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That motion was put to the vote on Blatter’s insistence – and seemingly against the wishes of the Palestinians – and was passed with 90% of the congress members voting in favour.

Rajoub and Eini then shook hands in what could be the first act in a long road to addressing the issues in the region.

Prior to Sexwale’s intervention, the PFA were demanding action due to the restricted movement of players around the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank and the existence of five teams in the Israeli league based in illegal settlements.

Rajoub’s speech called for co-operation and Eini went further, claiming football could be an avenue to peace.

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He said: “I don’t want to point any fingers at the Palestinian side. Football must serve as a bridge to peace. Let’s leave it to the politicians to deal with politics. Let’s join forces and produce the best football we can on both sides. I want us to work together, co-operate together, hug together. If we have differences we should resolve them by talking.”

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