Palestine has surpassed Israel in FIFA's world rankings for the first time in history.
Israel's national football team currently ranks 98th in the world, whereas Palestine now ranks 82nd. Out of 211 spots, this is also Israel's worst-ever ranking, after falling 16 spots from its previous position.
Since its Asian Football Confederation Asia cup debut in 2015, Palestine's national team has seen increasing success. Coach Abdel Nasser Barakat has been working hard to lead his team to victory during matches in the qualifying games for the 2019 Asian Cup.
"It’s a great performance by Palestine, but we need to back it up by continuing to work. We want to end the Asian Cup qualifiers as we started. It’s important for the team before the draw for the finals," Barakat said, according to Haaretz.
The ranking is definitely a symbolic victory for Palestine, especially as Palestine has recently challenged FIFA to take action against Israeli settlement teams.
In October, FIFA's governing body announced that it would not take action against the illegal settlements' teams.
"Given that the final status of the West Bank territories is the concern of the competent international public law authorities, the FIFA Council agrees that FIFA, in line with the general principle established in its Statutes, must remain neutral with regard to political matters," the international football association said in a statement, according to Al Jazeera.
As the settlements are considered illegal under international law, the Palestine Football Association has been campaigning against their teams since 2015.
Although the new ranking has a lot of people excited, the New Arab cautions that the FIFA rankings "don't exactly show the true abilities of each nation."
It does, however, reflect their "current form and achievements in international matches."
"Israel's horrific 2018 World Cup qualifications campaign has had a huge impact on the country's ranking, making them the third most 'worst movers' in the rankings," the New Arab explained.