Israeli embassy confirms cancellation of Argentina friendly in Jerusalem

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

Lionel Messi and his team-mates were due to face Israel on Saturday in their final warm-up match before heading to Russian Federation for the World Cup. Palestinian fans and leaders of the Palestinian Football Association called on Argentina to cancel the match, arguing that Israeli leaders had transformed the match into a "political tool" while also cracking down on Palestinian protesters along the Gaza border.

Officials at the Argentine president's office declined to comment on the issue.

"I hope Argentinian national team will not yield to terrorism", said Culture Minister Miri Regev after learning that soccer players on the Argentinian national team were sent threatening images and death-threats should they decide to play in the Israeli capital this Saturday. The threats, which tie into the controversial Israel-Palestine conflict, seem to have had an impact, and it is being reported that the game could be cancelled.

The Palestinian FA chairman, Jibril Rajoub, said: "Values, morals and sport have secured a victory today and a red card was raised at Israel through the cancellation of the game".

The ambassador of Palestine in Argentina, Husni Abdel Wahed, had expressed his opposition to the friendly match, saying the match would be similar to them celebrating. the occupation. "The Israeli government is trying to give it political significance by insisting it be held in Jerusalem", Rajoub said.

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"I stressed that the game, in the wake of the killing of the Palestinians in Gaza and the relocation of the United States. embassy to Jerusalem, sends a unsafe message to the Israeli government that the world ignores its gross human rights violations". The Palestinians want the eastern part of the city as the capital of a future state that will include the Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

On Sunday he called for Palestinians to burn replica shirts and pictures of Messi.

Last month, US President Donald Trump stirred global anger and condemnation with a decision to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem, recognising the city as the capital of Israel.

"The Palestinian FA thanks Argentina's players led by star Messi for refusing to be used to serve a non-sporting goal", Rajoub said in a statement. "We ask him not to participate in laundering the crimes of the occupation".

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