PARIS: International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach on Tuesday said that peace between Israel and the Palestinians was possible because they have lived in sporting “co-existence for decades”.

Bach said that the IOC’s recognition of the Palestinian Olympic Committee in 1993 was proof that a “two-state solution” was possible, as a truce between Israel and Hamas entered a fifth day on Tuesday following seven weeks of war in Gaza.

“With regard (to) Israel-Palestine, we have one advantage addressing this situation, because we have in the Olympic movement what you would call in the political world the two-state solution,” Bach said during a summit in Paris bringing together past Olympic host cities. “We have it already for a long time — two national Olympic committees which have been living together in a peaceful co-existence for decades.”

Palestine made its debut at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, following agreements signed three years earlier between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

“This situation leaves us the opportunity to speak with both communities,” Bach added, underlining that the Olympic body has “direct contact” with both national committees.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2023

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