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Palestinian officials thank Argentine football team for cancelling match with Israel

June 7, 2018 1:45 P.M. (Updated: June 7, 2018 2:54 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) --The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday confirmed that the Argentine football team has officially cancelled its highly-publicized match against Israel.

The ministry said in a statement that cancelling the ‘friendly’ -- originally scheduled to be played in Haifa before the venue was changed to Jerusalem -- sent a clear message to Israeli society about its politicians’ attempts to mask the occupation through the politicization of sports and other cultural events.

Officials from the ministry spoke to Ma’an, describing the cancellation as a "great achievement," attained after intensive efforts by Palestine and Jibril Rajoub, the President of the Palestinian Football Association, in particular.

Their campaign had called on Argentina to recognize Israel’s exploitation of sport for political purposes and was supported by many civil society groups, including the Committee for Solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Rajoub praised “all the organizations that are active for human rights and solidarity with the Palestinian people” for their help in bringing about the game’s cancellation.

The ministry thanked the Argentine Football Federation, the football team and members of the Argentine public for their support. It also wished the team every success in the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The move has been celebrated by advocates of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which advocates for the restoration of Palestinian rights in accordance with international law through strategies of boycotting Israeli products and cultural institutions, divesting from companies complicit in violations against Palestinians, and implementing state sanctions against the Israeli government.

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