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Jordanian FA urges FIFA to ban Israel
from soccer events

3 April 2002 

The Jordanian Football Association urged world soccer's governing body to freeze Israel's participation in FIFA events in the same way it had banned once-apartheid South Africa.

The JFA said in a letter obtained Wednesday that its request to FIFA was prompted by Israel's intensified military escalation against the Palestinians and refusal to abide by United Nations resolutions and withdraw from Palestinian territories.

"In order to uphold its banner of 'fair play,' the entire football community should freeze Israel's participation in this noble sport," said JFA President Prince Ali in a two-page letter dated Tuesday.

Ali, who is a half brother of Jordan's King Abdullah II, said Israel should be banished "the same way it (FIFA) did with the former apartheid South Africa."

The ban should remain "until such time when Israel abides by international law, United Nations resolutions and the will of the world and restores the dignity and freedom to the occupied people of Palestine," Ali said in his letter.

Ali is in charge of an elite commando unit supervising the security of the monarch, but he holds no political portfolio under the constitution that bans royal family members from holding public office.

His remarks, however, underline official frustrations with Jordan's policy of peace with neighboring Israel. Amman on Monday threatened to take unspecified measures in its relations with Israel, ratified under a 1994 peace treaty.

Senior government officials have said any decision, such as dismissing Israeli Ambassador David Dadonn, will be carefully studied.

Ali is also head of the West Asian Football Federation, which groups Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

By Reuters