Palestinian Olympic Committee head says Israel should be banned from 2024 Paris Games

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said in March there is no doubt that Israel will participate in the Paris Olympics.

By Shiryn Ghermezian, The Algemeiner

Palestinian Olympic Committee President Jibril Rajoub is calling for Israel to be banned from the 2024 Olympic Games because of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war just over a month before the competition begins in Paris.

“I’m sure that Israel’s participation will be a political burden, a security burden, and a moral burden on the Olympic Games,” Rajoub said in a newly published interview with Germany’s state-funded broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW).

Rajoub also claimed that Israel’s military actions during the ongoing war in Gaza violate aspects of the Olympic Charter, the set of rules for the Olympic Games to which participants must adhere.

In one allegation, he claimed that the Israeli military has destroyed most sporting facilities in the Gaza Strip, and has used the remaining venues as “centers for arrest and investigation and for the humiliation of people in a shameful way.”

“All of these incidents put Israel in a position where it should be prevented from participating,” Rajoub told DW.

“This is our position here. We hope that the Olympic movement shuts out Israel. As long as the Israeli side is not willing to confront the government about its transgressions, they are part of the system.”

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Rajoub also criticized Israeli athletes who are supportive of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), including judoka Peter Paltchik, who will compete in the Olympics this year for the second time.

Following the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack in Israel, Paltchik shared on social media a photo of several missiles that were signed with messages — including one that compared Hamas to the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization and also said “Ippon,” which is the highest score achievable in judo and immediately ends a match.

Paltchik wrote in the caption of the photo, “From me to you with pleasure #HamasisISIS #IsraelAtWar.”

Commenting on Patchik’s social media post, Rajoub told DW, “He is signing missiles and sending them as a gift to the children of Gaza.”

However Israel’s Judo Federation defended Patchik.

“Peter didn’t sign anything himself. Hamas is the one who targets civilians and uses them as human shelters [sic], not Israel’s army,” the federation told DW.

“In the picture, the words are: ‘Hamas is ISIS,’ nothing about children and civilians.”

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said in March there is no doubt that Israel will participate in the Paris Olympics.

Rajoub is also head of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), which recently tried to have Israel banned from all international matches due to Israel-Hamas war.

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The 2024 Summer Olympic Games will take place from July 26-Aug. 11.