A Palestinian soccer team posed for a picture with a banner praising a terrorist who killed two people last Sunday as a “martyr” and “hero.”
Musbah Abu Sbeih wounded six people and killed police officer Yosef Kirma, 29, and retired grandmother Levana Malihi, 60, before being fatally shot by police in Jerusalem.
Members of the West Bank Premier League team Hilal al-Quds smiled while holding a poster with his image, which included the words: “The Hilal al-Quds soccer club mourns the loss of the lion of al-Aqsa [Jerusalem], the martyr and hero Mesbah Abu Sabih,” the Times of Israel reported.
The team also held a moment of silence in the terrorist’s honor, Ynet reported. Team spokesman Tamer Obaidat said that the banner was brought in by fans who were “outraged” that the Palestinian gunman was killed. The fans then posted the picture to Facebook, but later agreed to remove it “as it is against FIFA regulations.”
Palestinian authorities are currently trying to pressure FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, to expel or relocate six semi-pro Israeli soccer teams located in the West Bank. While FIFA was expected to address the complaint by the end of a FIFA Council meeting on Friday, the matter was put off pending further review.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said at the end of the two-day conference that both Israeli and Palestinian representatives were asked to attend a meeting next month “with an open, constructive spirit to find a solution for football.”
“We are not a political body and we are not trying to solve political problems,” he added.
Eugene Kontorovich, a law professor at Northwestern University, argued last month that efforts to sanction Israel for allowing West Bank teams to play in Israeli leagues “contradict longstanding FIFA practice and create a double standard for Israel.” He noted, for instance, that FIFA does not take a stance on other territorial disputes: the soccer association allows Morocco to maintain a team in occupied Western Sahara, and recognizes the soccer federation of Gibraltar, a British territory claimed by Spain, despite strong Spanish objections.
The head of the Palestinian soccer association, Jibril Rajoub, led an unsuccessful effort to suspend Israel from FIFA last year. Rajoub has a long record of hostility toward Israel, including naming sports tournaments in honor of terrorists, regularly comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, and calling a football match between Israeli and Palestinian children “a crime against humanity.” In October, Rajoub praised a Palestinian terrorist attack that left one dead and 12 injured in Beersheba as an “act of heroism.” In May 2013, he declared that the Palestinians are enemies of Israel and warned: “in the name of Allah, if we had nuclear weapons, we’d be using them.”
[Photo: Facebook ]