Human-Rights Watch Endorses the Palestinians’ Soccer War

Sept. 27 2016

As part of Mahmoud Abbas’s overall strategy of using international institutions to wage diplomatic warfare on Israel, 66 members of the European parliament, backed up by a detailed report from Human-Rights Watch (HRW), are petitioning the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) to expel Israeli semi-professional soccer leagues located in the West Bank. Their letter further suggests the expulsion of Israel itself from the league. Eugene Kontorovich comments:

The legal arguments raised in these documents are entirely contrived. They contradict longstanding FIFA practice and create a double standard for Israel. . . .

[T]he HRW report . . . asserts that the local soccer leagues (all quite small-time) are “making the settlements more sustainable, thus propping up” the system. Most of the communities in question are just a few kilometers from the 1949 Jordanian-Israeli armistice line and would remain in Israel in all the major two-state proposals; their residents typically commute to work in bigger nearby cities. It is laughable to think anyone would leave [these communities] if the football league moved a few kilometers down the road. In any case, contrary to HRW’s claims, there is simply no support in international law for prohibiting business in occupied territories, as British and French courts have recently affirmed. . . .

[But] those campaigning against Israel rely principally on a lawyerly claim about FIFA’s rules: the clubs “clearly violate FIFA’s statutes, according to which clubs from one member association cannot play on the territory of another member association without its and FIFA’s consent.”

Curiously, the parliament members and the think tanks that support them do not cite any statutes saying this. And that is because the statutes specifically do not say that. . . . Rather, they deal with de-facto control. This is hardly surprising as FIFA is not a political body and would hardly be expected to, or want to, be forced to decide contentious territorial questions between members.

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Read more at Washington Post

More about: European Union, Human Rights Watch, Israel & Zionism, Palestinians, Soccer

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship