Terror Incitement in Jerusalem Football. Who is Responsible?

by BARRY SHAW June 14, 2017

This may come as a shock but intense terror incitement is happening in Jerusalem and nobody is taking a bit of notice.

Noise is being made about stopping Mahmoud Abbas paying salaries to jailed terrorists but nobody is addressing the source of the incitement, even when it is taking place regularly in our capital, and it is being done under guise of sport.

Let's follow the money trail and we'll arrive at the hard evidence of what is happening and who is failing to stop the incitement that leads to murder and bloodshed on the streets of Jerusalem. Who knows about it, and who is turning a blind eye?

The Palestinian Authority receives money from many overseas sources. Some of that money is given for supposedly healthy and positive pursuits, like sports. But when you get someone like Jibril Rajoub controlling the money spigot you can be sure the money gets dirtied along the way. Dirtied as in, covered in blood.  Our blood.

Rajoub, as top Fatah leader, controls much of the Palestinian budget allocations, specifically as it is applied to sport. Not only does he head the Palestinian hierarchy, he is also the Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association. As such, he ensures that funds reaching the PFA is funneled into football events that celebrate terrorist killers and glorifies terrorism.

The incitement and promotion to terrorism led the captain of the Qatabiya football club, Mohammad Kmeil, to stab to death 19 year-old female, Hadar Cohen in Jerusalem. Rather than treat him as a criminal, his club eulogized him, claiming he was a man of "high morals."

 Another example of the inevitable outcome of incitement in sports was 13 year-old Ahmad Manasreh who, together with his brother, went on a stabbing rampage through the streets of Jerusalem injuring and almost killing Israeli teenager, Naor Ben Ezra.  Manasrah was feted at a school football tournament in his honor a month after his attack. He was emulated as a hero to Palestinian schoolkids.

These are bad enough examples, but when such terror-inciting football events take place in Jerusalem one needs to demand why is our government, the Jerusalem Municipality, and our security forces, allowing this to happen? Why are they ignoring it?

An event takes place annually when the Jerusalem Al-Ansar club organizes a youths' football championship to honor Abi Jihad, the arch-terrorist responsible for the murder of 125 Israelis. Fourteen Jerusalem clubs compete for the Abu Jihad trophy under the supervision of the PFA.

Shockingly, in May 2016, the event was sponsored by the Vatican.  This year, the event took place at the same time that Jibril Rajoub had the gall to blast Israel at the FIFA Congress in Bahrain over six Israeli clubs playing in what he alleges to be "Palestinian Occupied" territory. While he was there, and with his knowledge, the 29th Abu Jihad Football Tournament was taking place in Jerusalem.

Yet, Rajoub, the Inciter-in-Chief and FIFA Delegate, goes unblemished and unpunished as he calls murderous terrorists "heroes" and "a crown on the head of every Palestinian," and promotes soccer events endorsing terrorists.

Hilal-Al Quds is the Jerusalem-based Palestinian football champions, funded and supported by Jibril Rajoub's PFA. Yet, in October 2016, Itamar Marcus's Palestinian Media Watch reported that players and officials of the club gathered around a huge banner extolling Mesbah Abu Sabih, who killed 60 year old grandmother, Levana Malihi, and 29 year-old, Yosef Kirmi, before being shot dead by security forces. The banner scrawled the message that the "Hilal al-Quds Soccer Club mourns the loss of the lion of al-Aqsa, the martyr and hero, Mebah Abu Sabih."

Can anyone imagine the officials and players of Chelsea FC unfurling a banner in front of their fans extolling the London Bridge terrorists?  Why is this being allowed to happen in our capital?

There is the trail. Money is pumped into Palestinian coffers. It is then used to promote terror at sporting events, including and especially in Jerusalem and, as a result, people go out on inspired terror rampages against civilians on the streets of Jerusalem and elsewhere, and nobody dares speak up or act against it. Not the government. Not the Prime Minister's Office. Not the Mayor of Jerusalem. Not the Israel Football Association.

No official protest was made to FIFA until this year when five NGOs decided to take the initiative into their own hands and demand of FIFA to ‘KICK TERRORISM OUT OF FOOTBALL.' 

Over thirty terror victims, some personally impacted by the terrorists celebrated in Palestinian sporting events, have joined the campaign.

Jibril Rajoub must be banned by FIFA from playing any official role in football, but that brings me back to my original question.

When incitement is being constantly promoted in Jerusalem why hasn't anyone in position of power taken steps to stop it?  Why isn't this considered to be a serious national security issue?

Who is responsible for turning a blind eye to the encouragement to terror perpetrated in Jerusalem at Palestinian football and sporting events that, inevitably, leads to carnage and death on our streets?

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Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is the author of ‘Fighting Hams, BDS and Anti-Semitism' and the new best-selling book ‘1917 From Palestine to the Land of Israel.'   

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