Palestinian youth and FC Barcelona players take part in a
Palestinian youth and FC Barcelona players take part in a "soccer clinic" for peace, at Dura stadium in the West Bank village of Dura, near Hebron (Reuters)

Israel has backed down from its refusal to allow Arab youth football teams into the West Bank after pressure from Uefa.

Fadi Zureiqat, secretary-general of the West Asia Football Federation's (Waff's) Under-17 championship, confirmed that Israel "capitulated [to the pressure] and allowed entry permits for all the teams and officials".

He told AFP that Waff Jordanian president Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein and Fifa's vice-president Jim Boyce intervened with Uefa to "settle this issue" and the tournament will begin on Sunday.

Israel's initial refusal to grant West Bank entry to Arab players and coaching staff delayed the championship, which was due to start on 15 August. Three managers of the Jordanian football union, two UAE representatives and 13 Iraqi managers and players were refused entry by Israeli authorities.

The Palestinian territories will host the championship, which welcomes the under-17 teams of Iraq, Jordan and UAE. The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) confirmed that the Israeli Civil Administration handed them the permits.

It is the first time an Iraqi team will travel to the Palestinian territories.

Israel's U-turn came after the PFA urged Fifa to expel the Jewish state because of travel restrictions placed on members of the Palestinian national team.

"We ask [Fifa] for a red card, because the yellow card has been raised now for a long time," Palestinian Football Association chief Jibril Rajoub told reporters in Ramallah.

"We are clinging to the red card to take away the Israeli occupation's legitimacy and we will not accept any compromise."

The Palestinian territories are also to host the Waff's under-21s championship in the first week of October.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter warned Israel in July that it could be suspended from international football if it continued with the Arab ban.

"If Israel is not careful the only team it will be able to play is Cameroon," Blatter told Israel Football Association chairman Avi Luzon