May 26, 2020
A Palestinian soccer star has been banned from rejoining the Palestine national team in the West Bank after he signed with an Israeli team on May 24.
The Israellycool blog first reported the player, Abdallah Jaber, had joined the Hapoel Haderas, telling Israeli radio that because he’s an Arab-Israeli, he had been unable to sign with other teams from Arab countries, such as Egypt.
“If the national team calls me again and if my current club allows me, I will go back to playing with Palestine,” he said. “At the moment, however, the respective football associations do not communicate with each other.”
The Times of Israel reported on May 25 that the Palestine team barred Jaber from rejoining the squad, as the team has rules against players joining an Israeli team. Jaber also was subjected to voluminous amounts of hateful social-media comments lambasting him for his decision to sign with the Haderas.
“It’s the political background; it is a sensitive issue,” he told Israel’s Channel 13.
Jaber added that Arab-Israelis like himself often are between a rock and a hard place on how Israelis and Palestinians view them.
“Over there [West Bank], they say we aren’t really Palestinians and here [Israel], they say we aren’t really Israelis,” Jaber said.
He had been on the Palestinian team since 2013; prior to that, Jaber had been playing for various Israeli teams.
StandWithUs Israel Executive Director Michael Dickson tweeted that the Palestinian team’s decision to bar Jaber from the team “seems more like racism than sportsmanship.”
Pro-Israel activist Arsen Ostrovsky similarly tweeted, “This is so sad! Sport should be a vehicle for promoting peace and tolerance! @FIFAcom must finally take action and give the #Palestinians a red card for this relentless racism and intimidation!”
FIFA did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.
Read the article here.