PA official applauds decision to forgo ‘racist’ moment of silence for Munich victims
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PA official applauds decision to forgo ‘racist’ moment of silence for Munich victims

'Sports are a bridge for love,’ says Palestinian Olympic chief Rajoub, a month after seeking to bar Israel from hosting a European soccer tournament

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

A friendly match between Jordan and Palestine (red) during a visit by the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogge in Ramallah on October 5, 2010. (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash 90)
A friendly match between Jordan and Palestine (red) during a visit by the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogge in Ramallah on October 5, 2010. (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash 90)

A Palestinian official on Thursday weighed in on the debate surrounding demands for a moment of silence during the opening ceremony of the Olympic games. He claimed that expressing solidarity with the 11 victims of a terror attack at the 1972 Munich Olympics would constitute “racism,” the Palestinian media watchdog Palestinian Media Watch reported.

Jibril Rajoub, the former head of the Preventive Security Force and current president of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, sent a letter Tuesday to IOC President Jacques Rogge thanking him for his refusal to allow a moment of silence in memory of the slain Israeli athletes during the opening ceremony of the Olympics July 27.

“Sports are a bridge for love, communication and the spreading of peace between nations and should not be used for divisiveness and the spread of racism,” Rajoub wrote Rogge, according to PMW.

Jibril Rajoub (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Jibril Rajoub (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Rajoub demanded last month — as president of the Palestinian Football Association — to bar Israel from hosting the European under-21 Championship in 2013 for jailing a Palestinian footballer, Mahmoud Sarsak, who has since been released.

In an interview with AFP Monday, Rajoub said that the Palestinian Olympic team was prepared to “confront the Israeli provocations” at the Olympics, referring to the Israeli demand for a moment of silence on July 27. Rajoub added that “sport in Palestine is a means to achieve national goals” as well as “a tool of struggle to present the Palestinian cause.”

The Black September group, which carried out the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic village, belonged to the Fatah movement of whose Central Committee Rajoub is a member.

Palestinian Authority officials honored one of the planners of the attack, Amin Al-Hindi, in an official military funeral in August 2010, which was attended by PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, PMW noted.

No comment was available from Israel’s Olympic committee at the time of publication.

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