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06 June 2018, 10:40 | Susie Olson
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NEW YORK: In the face of worldwide outcry over violence against innocent Palestinians in Gaza, Argentina has made a decision to pull out of soccer match against Israel, days before Lionel Messi and other players were scheduled to land in Jerusalem, media reports said Tuesday.
The match, which was Argentina's final game before the RussiaWorld Cup 2018, was set to be played on Saturday at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem al-Quds amid worldwide anger over a decision by the USA to recognize the occupied Palestinian city as Israel's "capital".
"The threats and provocations directed at Lionel Messi, which logically aroused the solidarity of his colleagues and fear of playing the friendly, are no strangers to the daily life of Israel's civilian population whose sporting stars, to put it simply, have been on numerous occasions the targets of violence and attacks".
Following the reports of cancellation, Israeli officials scrambled to try and get the game back on track, with Netanyahu phoning Argentinian President Mauricio Macri. 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 cancellation of the game is being viewed as a major victory for BDS, which seeks equal rights for Palestinians.
"But that's the way it is, we have to travel on the day before the match, play Israel in Israel and then from there go on to Russian Federation".
Barcelona ace Leo Messi saysArgentina need to come closer as a team if they're to win the World Cup.
"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 Israeli government is trying to give it political significance by insisting it be held in Jerusalem", Rajoub said.
Rajoub went so far as to ask for fans to burn photos of Lionel Messi and Argentina shirts.
The game would have come shortly after multiple protests and violence in Jerusalem after United States President Donald Trump moved the USA embassy to the capital - which is claimed by both Israel and Palestine. The Jewish state considers the entire city its own "indivisible" capital.
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