August 15, 2018

Argentina cancels Israel soccer friendly after Gaza killings

07 June 2018, 01:15 | Pamela Mathis

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A source at Argentina's football federation confirmed the cancellation of the worldwide friendly scheduled to be played on Saturday at Teddy Kollek Stadium in Jerusalem.

According to TRT World, the match was previously planned to be held in Haifa but the Israelis raised funds for its moving to Jerusalem.

The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the USA embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds. Israel regards Jerusalem as its "eternal and undivided" capital.

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

The Israeli Embassy in Argentina confirmed the cancellation on Twitter, saying it was saddened by the news following the threats directed at the players.

"They've finally done the right thing", Higuaín said in an interview with ESPN, confirming reports the game had been cancelled.

Rajoub laughed off Israeli threats of action, denying there was any intimidation.

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Rajoub had asked Argentinian footballers, especially Lionel Messi, not to appear in the match in order not to whitewash the face of the Israeli occupation.

"It's unfortunate the soccer knights of Argentina did not withstand the pressure of the Israeli-hating inciters, whose only goal is to harm our basic right to self-defence and bring about the destruction of Israel", Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said of the cancellation.

Rajoub, in a letter last week, accused Israel of using the friendly as a "political tool", and even threatened to campaign against Argentina's bid to host the World Cup in 2030 had the game taken place.

Palestinians claim the eastern part of Jerusalem, annexed by Israel, as the capital of their future state.

Argentina has cancelled its upcoming football match against Israel amidst condemnation for the Latin American country for its decision to have sporting ties with a country, whose troops have been committing war crimes against innocent Palestinians.

Barcelona star striker Lionel Messi has refused to consider him as the world's best and dubbed himself as "just another player" as the Argentinean talisman prepares for the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

Argentina's next match is now slated to be their World Cup Group D opener against Iceland on June 16, with Messi and his team-mates having only played one warm-up match - a 4-0 win over Haiti on May 30. "It's a pity the Argentine national team did not leave political considerations aside".

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