The Palestinian Authority's decision to drop its bid for suspension of Israel from the international football league, FIFA, is a step backward, says the spokesperson for the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor.

The Geneva-based human rights organization condemns the PA's withdrawal of support for the Palestinian Football Assn., which pushed for the Israeli suspension on charges that its government restricted the movement of players from the Gaza Strip and West Bank, thus making it impossible for them to participate in FIFA games, as well as bombed Gaza sport centers during the 50-day "Operation Protective Edge," July 8-August 26.

"The PA's decision to back down from a moral stand encourages Israel to commit more violations by communicating it can do so with complete impunity," says Ramy Abdu, Euro-Med Monitor chairman.

"Israel took the bid seriously and tried relentlessly, and successfully, to force the PA to drop it. The fact that Israel felt so threatened means a FIFA suspension is an effective way to pressure Israel to halt its human rights violations in the region."