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Israel-Argentina match to go ahead, despite cancellation rumors over Gaza deaths

Lionel Messi's Argentina coach has suggested the star 'can carry the team on his shoulders' at the World Cup
Juan Mabromata (AFP/File)
Argentinia captain Lionel Messi had until now resisted BDS pressure to scrap the June 9 match in Jerusalem

A friendly match between Argentina’s and Israel’s national soccer teams will go ahead as scheduled despite an alleged cancellation over Gaza border bloodshed and the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem on Monday.

Comtecgroup, the Tel-Aviv based organization responsible for organizing the soccer match, told i24NEWS on Wednesday that the event is "1000% confirmed" and that they "reject the versions about an annulment of the match."

The company upheld that the game scheduled in Jerusalem will take place "on Saturday, June 9th 2018, at 21.30pm and tickets will go on sale next week."

Argentinian media outlets said Wednesday that thematch would be moved to Barcelona in order to be held in a safer and more comfortable environment, away from recent controversies in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The Argentinian team, led by soccer superstar Lionel Messi, had already come under significant pressure by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which launched its “Argentina don’t go” (in Spanish “#ArgentinaNoVayas”) campaign to compel the two-time world champion league to refuse to play in the Jewish state.

A letter from the Argentinean Committee of Solidarity with Palestine to the Argentinean National Secretary of Sports and the Argentine Football Association had urged canceling the match, saying it “would represent the solidarity values ​​of the Argentine people towards other people’s victims of oppression, apartheid and genocide.”

AP Photo/Jon Super

But Messi had resisted BDS pressure, saying: “I really want to visit the Holy Land and for Argentina this will be an important professional and spiritual journey and I’m convinced that coming to Israel ahead of the World Cup will do us good.”

Messi visited Israel on a “peace tour” to Israel with his Barcelona team in August 2013, and supported a match a year later under the endorsement of Pope Francis promoting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

He was also recently hired as the brand ambassador of an Israeli blockchain startup, Sirin Labs.

Israel has come under intense international scrutiny after 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during violent clashes along the border with Gaza on Monday.

It was the single bloodiest day of conflict since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Text and editing by i24NEWS by Emily Gatt

Comments

(1)

Of the 60, > 43 are terrorists. The others were human shields.

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