The Palestinian Football Association has dropped its bid to have Israel suspended from the world body that governs soccer.
The move came after acrimonious final maneuvering that made it clear the effort would lose at the current congress of the International Federation of Association Football, better known by its French initials, FIFA. The Palestinians would have needed to win 75 percent of the ballots to carry the day.
In launching their effort, the Palestinians complained that Israel often blocked their players from traveling to practices in the West Bank and delayed shipments of needed equipment. After the head of the Palestinian association, Jibril Rajoub, announced he was dropping the bid, the congress voted by a 90 percent margin to establish a committee to investigate the Palestinians’ complaints and find ways to resolve them.
There was no sense of compromise in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement after the Palestinian withdrawal of the motion.
“This Palestinian provocation joins the unilateral steps that the Palestinians are taking at other international institutions,” he said. “So long as they take these steps they will only push peace further away instead of bringing it closer.”
Rajoub suggested too that the battle would continue. “I decided to drop the suspension but it does not mean that I give up the resistance,” he told the delegates, according to The Guardian newspaper’s website.