Argentina will play against Israel in a World Cup warm-up match on Saturday, and although football star Lionel Messi’s participation has garnered wide excitement in the area, Palestinian fans aren’t happy.
The match was originally planned to be played in Haifa but was later moved to Jerusalem.
The city, which is a highly sensitive area, will now host a worldwide icon and Palestinians feel that the Israeli government is turning a regular sports match into a political tool by changing the venue.
Some football fans have already burned Messi shirts in protest as they want Messi to call off his participation in the game.
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) June 4, 2018
"He's a big symbol so we are going to target him personally and we call on all to burn his picture and his shirt and to abandon him. We still hope that Messi will not come," Palestinian FA Chief Jibril Rajoub was reported by Haaretz as saying.
A small group of young football fans wearing Palestine soccer scarves demonstrated outside the Argentinean representation office and attempted to set fire to an Argentinian flag.
— Eyewitness News (@ewnupdates) June 4, 2018
— @HelenB (@HelenBlanckenbe) June 4, 2018