Argentina cancels game in Israel after pro-Palestinian protests

The eternal argument of who is better Ronaldo or Messi has been given extra spice ahead of this summer's World Cup
The eternal argument of who is better Ronaldo or Messi has been given extra spice ahead of this summer's World Cup

06 June, 2018

Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie did not confirm the game had been axed, but told reporters in Washington on the sidelines of the Organization of American States meeting that he believed players had been reluctant to travel to Israel for the game.

Rajoub also told Palestinian TV that Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi and his country "gave a slap in the face to Israeli racism".

Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat said that Minister Regev should realize that "the global community will not yield to the Israeli government.Israel.does not deserve an award but [is deserving of] punishment".

"I don't consider myself the best, I think I am just another player.On the field, we are all the same when the game begins", Messi said.

News of the cancellation sparked cheers in Gaza, where over 120 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since March 30, which marked the start of a series of protests demanding the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.

The match was originally slated to be played in Haifa but Israeli authorities contributed funding for it to be moved to Jerusalem, angering Palestinians further following U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of the city as Israel's capital.

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Lionel Messi of Argentina stretches before an worldwide friendly match between Argentina and Haiti at Alberto J. Armando Stadium on May 29, 2018, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

As part of the campaign, Mohammed Khalil, a Palestinian footballer, directed a message toward Argentina's beloved forward Lionel Messi. "These included video clips showing dead children". "The players' families were suffering due to the threats".

The fixture between the two teams was set to be played in Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium on June 9, which is built on land that was once a Palestinian village that was destroyed in 1948.

Following the reports of cancellation, Israeli officials scrambled to try and get the game back on track, with Netanyahu phoning Argentinian President Mauricio Macri.

The match, which was to be Argentina's final game before the start of their World Cup campaign in Russian Federation later this month, was set to be played at a stadium in West Jerusalem.

The development is being seen as a major victory by the supporters of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, which is accused of killing dozens of Palestinian civilians in recent weeks. "Things are not final, there is still a small hope".

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