HRW expects FIFA to take action against Israel footbal clubs in settlements after UN vote

HRW expects FIFA to take action against Israel footbal clubs in settlements after UN vote

Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:37PM

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says FIFA is expected to abandon its old definition of the Israeli-occupied West Bank as a “disputed” territory, saying a recent UN resolution condemning settlements increases pressure on the world’s football governing body to take action against Israeli clubs in the occupied area.

“The UN resolution makes it much more difficult for FIFA to pretend that allowing Israel to hold games in the settlements is neutral or acceptable,” HRW official Sari Bashi said on Thursday, adding, “The resolution clearly says that the settlements have no validity.”

On December 23, the UN Security Council adopted an unprecedented resolution demanding an end to Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Many have criticized FIFA for allowing six football teams based in settlements to play games in the West Bank as part of the Israeli football league, calling it a violation of international law.

FIFA was expected to decide on the issue in October, but the body delayed its verdict until a next meeting, which will take place on January 9-10.

Bashi said the UNSC resolution mounted pressure on FIFA ahead of the January meeting.

“This resolution makes it harder for FIFA to continue pretending it is avoiding politics by allowing the settlement clubs to continue playing,” said the official.

The UNSC resolution, which was approved with 14 votes in favor and one abstention from the US, has drawn huge anger in the occupied territories. The Tel Aviv regime has vowed that it would do whatever it can to compensate for the impact of the “shameful” resolution.