First ever Palestinian Olympic delegation 390 (R).
(photo credit: Charles Platiau / Reuters)
Jibril Rajoub, chairman of the Palestinian Football Association, on Thursday
called for Israel to be expelled from all international Olympic unions and
committees until it “honors international agreements.”
Rajoub said that
he was personally prepared to lead the anti-Israel campaign, but only if he
received help from the Arab countries.
He also voiced strong opposition
to any form of normalization with Israel, particularly in the field of
The term “normalization” does not exist in the Palestinian sports
dictionary, Rajoub stressed during a seminar in Ramallah.
He added that
sports in the Palestinian territories was “one of the methods of resistance”
Rajoub also called on Arab media representatives and
athletes to visit the Palestinian territories, arguing that this was not a form
of normalization with Israel.
“The youth sector in Palestine is the basic
fuel for the liberation project,” Rajoub said. He also emphasized the youth’s
role in maintaining a “permanent state of confrontation” with
Rajoub, who spent 17 years in Israeli prison, founded and headed
the much-feared Preventive Security Service in the West Bank immediately after
the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994.
While he was in
the job, Rajoub was known for his close and warm ties with representatives of
the Israeli security establishment – something that earned him many enemies
among Palestinians, especially in Hamas.
Rajoub was also considered a
“moderate” leader and champion of contacts with Israelis, particularly
representatives of Israeli left-wing parties and groups. At one stage he was
also touted as a potential successor to Yasser Arafat.