The Palestinian letter behind the nixed Argentina-Israel soccer match

Argentinian forward Lionel Messi looks on as Jibril Rajoub speaks in Bethlehem, Aug 2013. (photo: Ahmad Gharabli / AFP)

Palestine Football Association chief Jibril Rajoub asked his Argentine counterpart to call off the game following “political pressure” by the Israeli government.

By Noa Landau and Jack Khoury | Haaretz | Jun 6, 2018

“The match itself is to take place in a stadium built on one of the at least 418 Palestinian villages destroyed by Israel 70 years ago, Al Malha.”
— Jibril Rajoub in his May 28th letter to the Argentian Football Association

The head of the Palestine Football Association appealed last month before his Argentine counterpart to cancel the match against Israel slated for Saturday in Jerusalem. On Tuesday night, the Argentine Football Association cancelled the game, which was to take place in Jerusalem.

In the letter, the Palestinian soccer official stressed what prompted his protest was the Israeli government’s decision to move the game from Haifa, where it was originally planned to take place, to Jerusalem.

“The original field of the match was Haifa,” said the letter penned by Jibril Rajoub. “However and after political pressure took place from the Israeli government, as it was openly said by Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev, the match was moved to Jerusalem. This is a decision that, given the current context, the Palestine Football Association utterly rejects and condemns.”

Rajoub went on to blame the Israeli government of using the match as a political tool, saying Israel played the match up as part of its 70th Independence Day celebrations. He also dismissed Israel’s claims that the game was moved to Jerusalem so authorities could take the Argentine players to see the Old City of Jerusalem, calling it an attempt to normalize illegal annexation of occupied East Jerusalem.

Read the full text of the letter here →

Read the full article here →

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