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Argentina Drops Friendly With Israel Amid 'Threats' to Messi, 'Provocations'

06 June, 2018, 10:40 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi puts a paper with wishes in a crack in the Western Wall

Argentina's friendly match versus Israel is reportedly canceled.

Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat said that Minister Regev should realize that "the worldwide community will not yield to the Israeli government.Israel.does not deserve an award but [is deserving of] punishment". In Gaza, people cheered and in Ramallah in the West Bank, the Palestinian FA issued a statement thanking Messi and his colleagues for cancelling the game, saying: "The Palestinian FA thanks Argentina's players led by star Messi for refusing to be used to serve a non-sporting goal".

Argentina's Lionel Messi and teammates celebrate at the end of the match. The match was originally planned to be played in Haifa but Israeli authorities contributed funding for it to be moved to Jerusalem, irking Palestinians further following the United States president Donald Trump's recognition of the city as Israel's capital.

The Israel Football Association said Wednesday that Rajoub in his "brutal and physical threats" against Argentina's team had "crossed every red line", and vowed action against the PA in global forums.

Lebanon based television channel Al Mayadeen tweeted that the head of the Palestinian Federation in South America stated that the pressure to cancel the game with Israel came from Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano and team coach Jorge Sampaoli.

On Sunday, PFA chief Jibril Rajoub had urged fans to burn Messi photos and shirts if the Argentina superstar faced Israel in the scheduled friendly. "These included video clips showing dead children".


"The right thing was done, it's not worth it. The players' families were suffering due to the threats".

The match was set to take place on Saturday in Jerusalem.

Although there is nothing official as of yet, Spanish outlet "Ole" are reporting that the friendly will not be held, and Argentina will not travel to Israel.

Argentina's warm-up match at Teddy Kollek Stadium was to be their final game before kicking off their World Cup campaign against Group D opponents Iceland on June 16, following Messi's hat-trick in last week's 4-0 rout of minnows Haiti having been humiliated 6-1 by Spain in March.

"Don't play Israel until Palestinians' human rights are respected".

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. "This was a regrettable isolated incident", he added.

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