Messi Warned to Keep off Jerusalem
The Palestine Football Association head has urged fans to burn pictures of Argentina striker Lionel Messi and replicas of his shirt if he plays against Israel in Jerusalem next weekend.
Twice world champions Argentina will play at Jerusalem’s Teddy Kollek Stadium on Saturday night in a World Cup warm-up match.
The game has attracted huge interest among the Israeli fans, mainly because of Messi’s planned participation.
But the Palestinians are not happy that the match will be held in Jerusalem.
Palestinian FA chief Jibril Rajoub wrote on Sunday to Claudio Tapia, the head of the Argentinian FA, last week accusing Israel of using the match as a “political tool”.
The stadium that will host the match is in west Jerusalem. 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.
However, the status of the city generally is highly sensitive.
The match was originally slated to be played in Haifa but Israeli authorities contributed funding for it to be moved to Jerusalem, irking Palestinians further.
This is in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.
The U.S. embassy was moved there last month.