Jibril Rajoub said in a press conference that  "the Israelis lost their legal right and moral right to attend" the Games. GETTY IMAGES

Head of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, Jibril Rajoub, said Wednesday he hoped the Paris Olympic Games would bring more attention to the war in Gaza and the "Israeli occupation of the West Bank," Times of Israel reported last week. So far the country is set to participate in the Games with one athlete confirmed in taekwondo while other hopefuls are training to meet the International Olympic Committee standards to have priority for wildcards. Rajoub said in a press conference earlier this month that Palestine will have a minimum of 6-8 (athletes), three of which are likely to come from Gaza. 

Rajoub also said since the start of the conflict in 2023 more than 300 athletes, referees and sports officials have been killed and all sports facilities in Gaza have been demolished. He added that movement restrictions and travel difficulties make it challenging for Palestinian athletes to travel for international sporting events or to train abroad. Arab states —including Kuwait, Qatar, Libya and Egypt among others— are supporting Palestinian athletes by allowing them to train in those countries.

"In spite of all the difficulties and the challenges and the general atmosphere, someone was qualified for the Olympics," he said, referring to Palestinian taekwondo athlete Omar Ismail.

Rajoub hopes the Games will bring attention to the ongoing conflict and for Israel to be barred from attending the games saying "the Israelis lost their legal right and moral right to attend as long as they continue their crimes" in Gaza. Rajoub, who also leads the Palestinian Football Association, called for Israel to be immediately suspended from FIFA at the highest football body’s congress in May.

Despite multiple calls from activists for Israel to be banned or forced to compete under a neutral flag, as is the case with Russian athletes, the IOC has repeatedly confirmed the country’s participation in Paris. The IOC also guaranteed that Palestine will be represented with the organisation's President, Thomas Bach, saying that “even if no [Palestinian] athlete would qualify on the field of play… then the NOC [National Olympic Committee] of Palestine would benefit from invitations, like other national Olympic Committees who do not have a qualified athlete.”