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Arab League calls on Argentina to cancel Israel football match in destroyed Palestine village Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Arab League calls on Argentina to cancel Israel football match in destroyed Palestine village

The match comes after Israeli troops have killed at least 123 Palestinian protesters [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 June, 2018

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The Arab League has urged Argentina to cancel a friendly football match against Israel that will take place on the site of a destroyed Palestinian village.
The Arab League has urged Argentina to cancel a friendly football match against Israel that will take place on the site of a Palestinian village in Jerusalem destroyed in the 1948 war.

The Cairo-based organisation's department for Palestine and occupied territories made the remarks in a statement on Sunday, The New Arab's Arabic-language service reported.

"Israel is using the match for political purposes that have nothing to do with sports and is harming the rights of Palestinians guaranteed by international conventions," the statement said.

It added that Israel was attempting to "mislead Argentinians into believing that Jerusalem is united for the Jewish people".

The match is scheduled to be played next Saturday at an Israeli soccer stadium in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Malha.

The neighbourhood was built over the site of a Palestinian village destroyed during the war that established Israel 70 years ago.

The head of the Palestinian football federation has called on sports fans to burn photos and T-shirts of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi if he attends the friendly match.

Jibril Rajoub made the call after a demonstration in front of the Argentinian representative office in Ramallah, where he asked Argentina to cancel the match.

"Messi. Don't come. Don't whitewash the face of racism," Rajoub said.

Israel's football federation has said Messi is expected to play at next week's match.

The match also comes after Israeli troops have killed at least 123 Palestinians and more than 10,000 have been injured since mass demonstrations began on March 30.

The demonstrations and violence peaked on May 14 when at least 61 Palestinians were killed as tens of thousands of Gazans protested the US transfer of its embassy in Israel to the disputed city of Jerusalem the same day.

No Israelis have been killed and only a few soldiers have suffered minor injuries.

The protests - dubbed "Great Return March" - have centred on the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, after they were expelled following the 1948 creation of Israel.

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