Israeli and Palestinian Officials Working together to ensure Successful participation in the 2012 Olympics in London
Israeli and Palestinian Olympic officials met Thursday to begin building closer ties , in an effort to send stronger teams to the 2012 London Games. At a recent International Olympic Committee meeting, Palestinian athletes were promised IOC funding and Israeli support to prepare for the London Olympics. Israel committed to hosting the Palestinian team at training camps and coaching seminars, and sharing its knowledge of sports science and medicine.
The parties hailed the "positive and constructive" meeting, and agreed to study the travel issues before returning to Lausanne in March. That's when they plan to present proposals to their governments.
"We believe that through sport we can make a difference. I hope today we made the first steps," Efraim Zinger, secretary general of the Israel Olympic committee, told The Associated Press.
Zinger described Palestinian Olympic leader Jibril Rajoub as a partner in the process.
Rajoub said it was "a common choice for everybody" at the meeting to seek ways to help Palestinian athletes and teams compete internationally.
"It is my dream as Palestinian national Olympic committee president to participate in next year's Olympic games by an army of athletes," Rajoub told The AP.
Zinger said Israel was committed to hosting the Palestinian team at training camps and coaching seminars, and share its knowledge of sports science and medicine.
"We are there and in advance we said 'Yes' for any request regarding assistance for the preparation of Palestinian athletes for the Olympic Games," Zinger said.
The IOC delegation was led by Pere Miro, director of relations with national Olympic committees, who said the two parties showed "impressive" support for Olympic ideals.
"Through sport we can contribute to make a more tolerant world and make societies understand each other," Miro said.
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