Argentina ‘calls off’ controversial World Cup warm-up against Israel

Jun 06, 2018, 14:01
Argentina ‘calls off’ controversial World Cup warm-up against Israel

On Sunday, Palestinian football boss Jibril Rajoub urged Messi not to play in an Argentina-Israel game in Jerusalem and urged fans to burn their shirts if he does.

Israel lays claim to the whole Jerusalem al-Quds, but the worldwide community views the city's eastern sector as an occupied territory and Palestinians consider it as the capital of their future state.

However, the Israeli embassy in Argentina blamed what it called "threats and provocations" against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

"The friendship between Argentina and Israel, which will soon celebrate its 70th anniversary, is not about a football match".

Argentine Football Association vice president Hugo Moyano said threats to the team as they trained in Barcelona were affecting the players' families.

Responding to the news, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel said it welcomed Argentina's decision to cancel.

"Messi is a symbol of peace and love", he said in a statement ahead of the game.

"The Israeli government has turned a regular sports match into a political tool". 'We ask him not to participate in laundering the crimes of the occupation'.

Argentina open their Group D campaign in Russian Federation against Iceland on June 16.

There was no immediate reaction on the cancellation of the friendly game from Israel.

"This is a Palestinian victory one nil at the 90'th minute", said Join List MK Ahmad Tibi, "all due to a self-goal from [Culture] Minister Miri Regev".

"It began with the discussion over the Independence Day ceremony, continued with unending arguments regarding the next Eurovision contest and now the cancelled game with the Argentinian team", she said, "this is not sport nor culture, it's the finest ugly politics possible".

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed the area in a move not recognised by the worldwide community.

The Argentine decision may also have been influenced by deadly violence along the Israeli-Gaza border.

Khalil was shot by Israeli snipers on March 30, during the first Friday protests of Palestinians demonstrating east of Gaza, demanding their right to return.

"We give everything when we are wearing it and we want payback for the way things happened at the last World Cup". The vast majority have been unarmed.

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