Messi in middle of Israel-Palestinian spat over scrapped match

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Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi insisted he was "just another player" despite being considered among the all-time greats.

The decision has now been taken to postpone the game, which would have been Argentina's last World Cup warm-up friendly.

The Palestine Football Association chief Jibril Rajoub reportedly urged fans to burn pictures of Lionel Messi and "replicas of his shirt" if the match was played.

Abdel Wahed went on to say that the match was part of the celebrations of Israel's 70th anniversary since its establishment in 1948, after hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their villages and lands by Zionist paramilitaries.

Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie said before confirmation of the game's cancellation that he believed his country's players had been reluctant to travel to Israel for the match. Let us know in the comments section below.

"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-defense and bring about the destruction of Israel", said Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

"We still hope that Messi will not come", Rajoub said.

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There was no immediate reaction on the cancellation from Israel, but Israeli news site Ynet reported that prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called Argentine President Mauricio Macri and urged him to intervene. The US embassy was moved there last month.

My responsibility as president of the Argentina Football Association [AFA] is to look after the health, physical integrity and security of our delegation. "[Lionel] Messi can not turn his back on the Palestinian victims", said Jabareen, according to an Israel National News report.

120 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in recent protests sparked by Donald Trump's decision to relocate the USA embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

He said: "From a sporting point of view, I would have preferred to play in Barcelona". 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.

Argentina's next match will now be in Russian Federation as they open their World Cup campaign against Iceland on June 16 (2pm). Israel considers Jerusalem its "indivisible" capital.

The Israel and Argentina federations had yet to formally announce the game's cancellation as of Tuesday night.

The movement against Israel got a push after the footage of a Palestinian footballer being shot by Israeli soldiers in March went viral.

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