Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Israeli FA files compaint to Federation Internationale de Football Association against Palestinians over Argentina friendly cancelation

Israeli FA files compaint to Federation Internationale de Football Association against Palestinians over Argentina friendly cancelation

The Palestinian FA had also threatened Argentina's bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2030 over the soccer match in Israel.

"The terror threats against him and his family overwhelmed the world soccer star", Regev added.

The Israeli news site Ynet reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called Argentine president Mauricio Macri and urged him to intervene.

Jibril Rajoub leads the Palestinian football association.

He called it a victory for "ethics and values" of sports.

Opposition figures, however, accused Israel's headline-seeking sports minister Miri Regev of bringing on the politicisation of the sporting event by insisting on moving the game from Haifa to contested Jerusalem and by trying to orchestrate a politicised photo-op with Messi.

She was also attempting to orchestrate a handshake photo opportunity with Messi at a time when the status of Jerusalem has become highly inflammatory after the U.S. moved its embassy there.

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

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The status of Jerusalem, always a key sticking point in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, surged back to centre-stage when Trump tore up decades of U.S. policy to recognise it as Israel's capital in December.

Under the hashtag #NothingFriendly campaigners highlighted Israel's human rights abuses and wanton killing of Palestinian demonstrators. "It was even borne of Messi's will to visit Jerusalem, kiss the Western Wall, and make it to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher".

"The cancellation ... is prompted by the same reasons, I raised in my letter to the Argentinian ambassador in Israel".

The event could not have been further from the politicking that surrounded this friendly.

Regev claimed "terrorist groups" had made threats against Argentina's players.

The army said it was taking action to disperse some 10,000 Palestinians, some of whom threw rocks at the troops and burned tires, and prevent any breach of the fortified frontier fence.

Israel has tried to discredit the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for years claiming it is anti-Semitic.

"The team responded to creative campaigning from fans around the world denouncing Israel's sports-washing of its crimes against Palestinians". "We felt that it wasn't right to go".

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He said that participating in the event would have been a form of complicity "magnified by Israel's recent horrific massacre in Gaza".

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen second leg football match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 14, 2018. So I simply apologize to the Israeli community.

In a letter to Argentinian Ambassador Faustino Garcia, Jabareen wrote: "While Israel has long sought worldwide recognition and acceptance of Jerusalem as its capital, the recognition should not be forthcoming".

The request comes against the backdrop of the cancellation of a friendly match between the Argentinian and Israeli national soccer teams, which had been scheduled to take place at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on Saturday. Rajoub spoke at a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah next to a picture of himself and Messi with the caption "From Palestine, thank you Messi".

Hamadeh Freij, a journalist in Gaza, said that people in the besieged territory were excited about the decision and that the issue dominated discussions during iftar.

Messi is widely quoted as telling Argentina sports channel TyC Sports: "As a UNICEF ambassador, I can not play against people who kill innocent Palestinian children".

"We are not asking for the moon", said Amer Abu Khalaf, a 20-year-old business administration student who took part in the protest, saying it aimed to "break the siege and have the world recognize our right to return".

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