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Jibril Rajoub confident FIFA will vote on expelling Israel

FIFA’s general assembly will convene on May 29 and may vote on removing Israel from the world soccer association, in a step Palestinians see as a major progress in the nonviolent efforts to call out Israel for its ongoing violations against Palestinian sports.
Head of the Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub (2nd R) walks with anti-apartheid activist Tokyo Sexwale (R) past Israel's controversial barrier as they arrive for a news conference in the West Bank town of Al-Ram, near Jerusalem, May 7, 2015. Rajoub reinforced his call for Israel to be suspended from FIFA on Thursday, saying the Israeli Football Association was part of an "apartheid, racist government" that was damaging Palestinian soccer. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman  - RTX1BZBF

The head of the Palestinian Football Federation spoke optimistically of winning the vote that the general assembly of the world soccer association FIFA will hold May 29. Three-fourths of the association's 209 members are needed to remove a member. “I am 100% sure we will win the vote and remove the Israelis from FIFA,” Jibril Rajoub told Al-Monitor on May 21 after meeting with FIFA head Joseph “Sepp” Blatter.

Rajoub appeared to have little faith in the mediation efforts of Blatter, who had met May 19 with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Palestinians have been through this before and have in past years agreed to withdraw their efforts to kick the Israelis out only to find that travel restrictions have continued, Rajoub argued. Palestinian players, especially from the Gaza Strip, are often denied travel to the West Bank or abroad to participate in training or in games. Players from visiting teams are also sometimes denied entry, causing embarrassment to the Palestinian Football Association.

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