اجعلنا صفحة البداية RSS خدمة Add to favorite Facebook Twitter

Advanced

Messi, Barcelona visit Bethlehem, Hebron
Published Sunday 04/08/2013 (updated) 06/08/2013 16:11
Font- Font+
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Lionel Messi and his fellow Barcelona stars were mobbed on their arrival in Israel on Saturday where the Spanish giants are staging two "training camps for peace".

Hundreds of fans, wearing Barcelona shirts, as well as a heavy police presence greeted the squad who will train with groups of Israeli and Palestinian children.

The players, who are also visiting Bethlehem, where they were met by President Mahmoud Abbas were working with Palestinian youngsters in Hebron on Saturday night.

On Sunday, they are due to meet Israel President Shimon Peres before coaching more children in Tel Aviv.

"The goals are important but it's also crucial to educate children and try to bring them together," said midfielder Andres Iniesta.

The training sessions are organized by the Peres Center for Peace as well as the Israeli and Palestinian football federations.

In October 2012, Barcelona caused controversy when former Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held for five years in the Gaza Strip, was invited to watch the Clasico between Barca and Real Madrid.

It was a decision which sparked calls for a boycott of the Catalan club.

Around 25,000 spectators turned up for the Saturday night training session in Hebron, a crowd which included Mohammad Assaf, the Gaza singer who won the "Arab Idol" talent show earlier this year.

Fans jostled for the opportunity to snap Messi and his teammates on their mobile phones.

After a brief warm-up period, the Barcelona stars played with a group of boys and girls, relaying some of the secrets of their trademark intricate passing game.

Jibril Rajoub, the president of the Palestinian Authority football federation, said he hoped that when Barcelona visited again in the future, it would be in a "an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel".

"Sport is the best way to overcome hate and hostility," said Rajoub who described the visit as an "historic day".
Print
1 ) Sherezade / US
04/08/2013 12:04
Thank you to Barcelona and it's stars for this trip. I hope many more sports and such organisations make these visit to show solidarity with the Palestinain people. Loving Messi!!!!

2 ) MAS / Palestine
04/08/2013 14:20
Jibril Rajoub.. what else?

3 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
04/08/2013 15:35
Sport is one of the best ways to build bridges between societies. The Palestinians should make a leap of faith and overcome their hatred, which makes them ban all sports contacts with Israel. Barcelona is visiting both sides in the conflict - so should the Palestinians. And they should replace Jibril Rajoub, who is on the record saying he wished he had nuclear weapons, and he would have used them against Israel to kill football players (and their familes and neighborhoods and entire cities).

4 ) Cherish / US
04/08/2013 16:42
Brian Cohen you really are full of BS. If anyone is full of hate it is European squatters like you living on stolen Palestinian land. It is Israel's Nazi policies that restricts Palestinian freedom of movement. At a recent Alicia Keys concert Palestinians had tickets but were not allowed past your apartheid wall. Talking about hate & replacement that's most of you death threat making European immigrants that need to be replaced. Then again that's just a matter of time!

5 ) southparkbear / usa
04/08/2013 18:52
first of all let's agree this is another palestinians victory. Barsa came in response to Peres invitation and as we all know from many years ago Peres's mother is an arab

6 ) @5 / .kz
05/08/2013 21:17
u arent funny son

7 ) norris / jacobsen
06/08/2013 23:16
is lionel autistic??
Name Country
Comment
Characters
Note: Comments will be reviewed for appropriate content. Click here for more details.

Share/Bookmark

2 million Muslims take part in hajj as Eid feast begins
Gaza artist Tayseer Barakat to show in Ramallah gallery
2,500 Gaza pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia via Rafah crossing

Close Next Previous
All Rights Reserved © Ma'an News Agency 2005 - 2014