The chairman of the FIFA Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine, Mr Tokyo Sexwale, had separate important meetings with Israel Prime Minister, Mr Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian President, Mr Mahmoud Abbas, over the last two days. The objective of the discussions was to provide both leaders with an update of the work of the Monitoring Committee regarding two matters, namely the movement of people and football goods in and out of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the contentious question of the Israeli clubs playing in the settlements. The meeting with Mr Netanyahu took place at his office in Jerusalem and that with Mr Abbas in his Ramallah office.
Mr Sexwale and his delegation were always accompanied by members of either the Israel Football Association (IFA) or the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), who are members of the monitoring committee. These included the PFA President Mr Jibril Rajoub and the IFA General Secretary Mr Rotem Kamer.
But most importantly, as previously indicated, Mr Sexwale and his delegation conducted in-depth discussions with the Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport Mrs Miri Regev in Jerusalem regarding the movement of people and goods and the issue of the clubs. Other meetings which Mr Sexwale and his delegation had were with the Palestinian Prime Minister, Mr Rami Hamdallah, the Head of the Israeli opposition in the Knesset, Mr Isaac Herzog and the Mayor of Jerusalem, Mr Nier Barkat.
"We were heartened with the spirit of commitment to resolving these difficult questions by all sides,” Mr Sexwale said. “We shall be providing further reports to the FIFA Council in January based upon certain key essential principles including: commitment to finding resolutions based upon FIFA principles; the application of FIFA decisions within various confederations even handedly; the utilisation of football as a bridge building endeavour to bring joy amongst the people of the world; paying due regard to questions of international agreements; and most importantly to ensure that the door of politics is firmly shut outside of sport."
Over the coming days, Mr Sexwale will proceed to Zurich in order to brief FIFA President Gianni Infantino and FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura who have both committed to visiting the region at the appropriate time in the near future.