Inside the Middle East
October 6, 2010
Posted: 2023 GMT


IOC Chief Jacques Rogge and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at West Bank football match (Mustafa Abu Dayeh/Palestinian Authority PM Office)
IOC Chief Jacques Rogge and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at West Bank football match (Mustafa Abu Dayeh/Palestinian Authority PM Office)

I asked the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad how it felt to be cheered by thousands of Palestinians while showing off his football skills at al-Ram stadium north of Jerusalem.

The reply… “Wonderful.  Just wonderful.  We should be the ones playing with the players watching.”

 The “we” refers to him and Jacques Rogge, head of the International Olympics Committee on a whirlwind tour of Jordan, the West Bank and Israel.        

They were all suited and booted but from afar their skills looked pretty good.  But you should take into account I only attended my first football match two years ago – again here at Ram stadium, to watch the first ever Palestinian home match on Palestinian soil.

The IOC visit was high-profile and much welcomed by the leadership and fans alike.  The hope is Rogge can bring pressure on the Israeli authorities, who he is also talking to, to allow more freedom of movement for the athletes to attend competitions overseas.

Rogge has invited both sides to a sporting summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, the IOC headquarters to try to improve the status quo.  He told me he himself cannot be political but sport itself has the power of persuasion.

“Sport is a universal language, everyone understands a sports result around the world, the rules of sport are the same in every country in the world and sport brings people together irrespective of their ethnic origin, their culture, their language, their creed, so that’s the value and strength of sport.”

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Filed under: Israel •Palestinians •Sports •West Bank

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miriam   October 7th, 2010 7:08 pm ET

This appears to be yet another questionable piece of journalism.

It was clear that 24 hours later, Rogge was to visit Israeli olympic officials and the PM. Why not write a blog where it would be possible to report on both meetings?

It would then be possible to report that Rogge acknowledged Israel 's security concerns that can require travel restrictions, that Israel denies the Palestinian accusations of deliberately targeting athletes, that Rogge praised Israeli olympic achievements and report his comments on the unfair treatment of Israeli athletes banned from competing in many international competitions.

The dream of an olympics hosted jointly by Israel and a Palestinian state was also discussed. At least they could dream of the positive rather than simply be stuck in the negative rhetoric and narrative of those who never have anything encouraging to say.

miriam   October 7th, 2010 9:14 pm ET

It is ironic that, while in the West Bank, Rogge laid a wreath at the grave of the Palestinian who left the biggest mark on the Olympic Games, that mark being a big, black blot.

Meanwhile,any commemoration of the Munich Massacre at recent and future Games is always surrounded in political controversy.

It's time for Olympic organizers to get their priorities straight, honouring a terrorist who ordered the massacre of athletes or memorializing the athletes massacred.

Smith in Oregon   October 7th, 2010 10:22 pm ET

As Israel slips deeper and deeper into a entirely Apartheid State, America's support and Billions of free American taxpayer dollars given to Apartheid Israel every year should be stopped and dried up. Israel already has 'Jews only road system' where non Jewish people are unable to travel, unable to even ride in Jewish vehicles driven by Jewish vehicles. The ultra-conservative extreme government of Israel's Netanyahu is pushing for extremely insensitive deportation laws regarding Israeli citizens and their children with less than 5 years of Israeli citizenship. That could result in the deportation of thousands of Israeli citizens and is widely seen as a huge abuse of political powers.

The terrible human rights abuse charges that are mounting and being alleged by the European Unions legal consul as well as many nations around the entire world is further isolating Apartheid Israel and American's should be actively questioning what American core values are given, received and supported by America's continued massive free taxpayer cash giveaway to Israel. America and much of the world entirely boycotted South Africa's government, business's and trade. The same should happen to Apartheid Israel, boycotting the Israeli government, boycotting all Israeli business's and boycotting all Israeli trade.

miriam   October 9th, 2010 8:17 pm ET


There are virtually no roads that are "Jew only" as opposed to many that Jews are banned from travelling on.

The current Israeli government consists of a coalition including the only significant left-wing party.

The deportation you are refering to, which has been delayed due to democratic processes, does not apply to Israeli citizens, but to children of illegal foreign workers whose visas have expired or foreign workers who had children in order to extend their stays in the country.

Few EU legal experts, who are not part of a politically motivated, anti-Israel, biased movement that distorts and invents mythical international law, would agree with your accusations and most are fully aware of Israel's independent, transparent and internationally respected judicial system that is continually consulted and refered to with respect to human rights and values.

Accusations of apatheid are part of a cynical effort to delegitimize and demonize the Jewish state and have been rejected outright by people who recognized the realities of apartheid in SA and recognize the realities in Israel.

John A   October 10th, 2010 12:30 am ET

Miriam, you're starting to appear very lonely with your pro Israeli propaganda nonsense.

Wylie   October 11th, 2010 1:13 pm ET

The IOC failed to bring openess to China when it gave them the Games, and it will fail in the Mid-East. They should stick to athletics and leave politics out of it. Imagine, siding with the only group to attack and kill Olympic athletes.

John A   October 13th, 2010 11:42 am ET

Wylie, Imagine siding with the only group who hold 1.5 million people under an illegal siege and have for 60 years bombed and murdered Palestinians.

Unfortunately during the Munich Olympics the world ignored Israels grievous crimes against humanity and some Palestinians took the wrong course of action when trying to highlight the lack of justice.

Today the world has woken up and desperate Palestinians don't need to target Israeli athletes to bring attention to Israels crimes.

It would be interesting to know how many of Israels Munich Olympics athletes actually lived on occupied land and oppressed Palestinians.

Wylie would you have invited Germany to a 1941 Olympics or was your family dropping bombs on Germany? Why do you blame Palestinians for fighting back? If you had your family home robbed, your crops destroyed and your kids shot at on a daily basis by Israel, would you not fight back??

How many more aid workers do you need to watch Israel slaughter, before you realize you are on the wrong side of history?

miriam   October 13th, 2010 1:08 pm ET

John A,

If you extend your horizons, there are large populations in several regions of the world which are being held under seige.

The PLO, responsible for the Munich Massacre, considered all of Israel occupied and all Israelis settlers, an opinion shared by most anti-Israeli propagandists today, spreading myths of land-theft, genocide and peaceful, apolitical, aid-workers.

There would never have been an Olympic Games in 1941, and the Games of 1940 and 1944 were both cancelled due to the realization of the ideology allowed to abuse and propagandize the 1936 Games.

Propaganda, based on myths and hate, can be very powerful in deceiving the gullible and brainwashed, however, the consequences have been seen to be dangerous and result in the death of many on all sides. Anti-Jewish propaganda has been consistently on the wrong side of history.

In 1972, the only Jewish communities on land captured in 1967 were those from which Jews had been expelled in 1948.

Gaza is not under an Israeli seige and policies of the Israeli government towards Gaza are entirely legal. Unfortunately, Hamas holds the Strip and its population under seige, stealing foreign aid for itself and selling the rest at inflated prices for the rest of the population.

John A   October 14th, 2010 8:47 am ET

Miriam says "Anti-Jewish propaganda has been consistently on the wrong side of history".
Miriam implies the Jews are always on the right side of history. So there we have it, for thousands of years the Jews have always been right and to disagree with them is anti Semitic propaganda.

Miriam, your self righteous tin foil hat does not protect you from the prejudices, arrogance and self deception known as Zionism.

Filipe   October 14th, 2010 1:14 pm ET

John A,

You must be in astate of confusion. The only being shot at and under rocket and mortar fire on a daily basis are the residents of southern Israel-– not Jews in the West Bank or the Palestinians.

Where do you get your information??? Must not have good reception in the cave where you live!

Please.......give it up!!!!

It wasn't so long ago your white European ancestors committed genocide on the Native Americans, stole their land and until this and your people continue to squat on the stolen land.

SO you need not talk about occupationand oppression !!

miriam   October 14th, 2010 4:00 pm ET

John A,

Those who have been responsible for propaganda against Jews, resulting in exile, expulsions and massacres (including Olympic) have all been on the wrong side of history, including their treatment with respect to non-Jews.

Jews have enough free-thinking opinions among themselves to negate your claims that disagreeing with a Jew is considered anti-semitic.

Modern Zionism is based on historic Jewish nationalism, re-enforced by the prejudices, arrogance and deceptive propaganda of the host nations against their Jewish populations.

Wilson   October 15th, 2010 10:30 am ET

Your not making sense. Do you want to rewrite your blog, when you have had enough sleep? please remember Israel recent bombed to death 1400 Palestinians as well as killing aid workers on the flotilla.

John A,
You must learn that Israel will always blame everyone for the mess they have made. And then they will ask for more aid to fix the mess they have made. Israel is the biggest scam of the modern era, even worse than the bank bail out ( which incidentally made more Zionist banker multi millions, while main street got robed quicker than a Palestinian can get kicked out of their own land)

David   October 16th, 2010 2:27 pm ET

Miriam, I agree with you completely.

Sharon   October 16th, 2010 6:23 pm ET

So both Miriam and David learn their political history from comics.

As always two wrongs dont make a right.

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