Palestinian FA chief bars Israeli-Arabs

ISRAELI-Arabs who currently play in the Israeli football league cannot play for the Palestinian national team, according to Palestinian Football Association president Jibril Rajoub.

The team is taking part in the Asian Cup and coach Noureddine Ould Ali wanted to add Hapoel Hadera’s Ali Khatib and Ala’a Abu Saleh, of Hapoel Iksal, to strengthen his side.

Abu Saleh was not allowed to join even though he had been on the Palestinian national team when he played in the PA league.

The Palestinian team is not, however, completely bereft of Arab Israelis — even those who grew up and were trained in Israeli youth leagues — as the embargo is only on those now competing for Israeli teams.

Rajoub’s anti-Israel bias is longstanding.

In 2015, he urged FIFA, to suspend Israel because he claimed Israel prevents Palestinian players’ “freedom of movement”.

A year later, he tried to get FIFA to expel six Israeli teams based in Judea and Samaria, claiming they violated the body’s rules by playing in another association’s territory.

And, in August, FIFA banned Rajoub from attending games in an official capacity for a year after he incited hatred and threatened violence against superstar Lionel Messi if Argentina played a match in Israel before the World Cup.

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