Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Benjamin Netanyahu Shows Rockets in Gaza Stadium to Soccer Boss Sepp Blatter

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed the president of the international soccer federation proof that Palestinian soccer fields have been used to launch rockets at Israel.

Netanyahu met Tuesday with FIFA President Joseph Blatter a day after Blatter visited sites in the West Bank, including the opening of the new offices of the Palestine Football Association near Ramallah.

Netanyahu showed Blatter aerial photographs from Nov. 16, 2012 that reveal long-range Fajr-5 missile launch sites in the Gaza soccer stadium. Netanyahu also showed Blatter a video from March 10, 2012 of a match between the Israeli soccer teams of Beersheva and Um Al-Fahm being halted due to rocket fire at the stadium.

“This is a double war crime,” Netanyahu said. “You’re firing on civilians and you’re hiding behind civilians.”

The Israeli leader also referred to recent media interviews with Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub in which Rajoub said that if the Palestinians had an atomic bomb, they would have already used it on Israel and that Israel is the enemy of the Palestinian people.

During his West Bank visit, Blatter said he would speak to Israeli political leaders about easing travel restrictions on Palestinian players between the West Bank and Gaza.

“I will go to defend not only the Palestine Football Association but I will defend the basic principles of FIFA, (which are) to connect people and not to separate people,” Blatter said.

He added that the principles are “to recognize each other through football and to live not only in peace but in harmony.”

Rajoub said at his meeting with Blatter that if the issue of travel of Palestinian players is not resolved satisfactorily, he will ask the FIFA Congress to expel Israel.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.