“Don’t White Face the Racism”: Palestinians Attack Messi

Palestinians are opposed to a match that will be held in Malha, a Palestinian village destroyed by Israel.

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Video Editor: Mohd Ibrahim

Argentinian football star Lionel Messi is facing the wrath of Palestinians living in the West Bank region. There have been calls to burn his memorabilia and to abandon him.

Messi is a part of the Argentinian team scheduled to play Israel in a football friendly at an Israeli Soccer stadium in Jerusalem on 9 June. Palestinians are radically opposed to this match because it is situated at the site of Malha, a Palestinian village which was destroyed in the war that lead to the creation of Israel.

The ire of Palestinians has been directed at Messi because they feel that him being a global icon and playing at such a stadium will help in normalising Israel’s human rights violation with regards to Palestine and Palestinians.

Jibril Rajoub, the Palestinian Football Association President, said “We will target (Lionel) Messi and we will ask everyone to burn his t-shirt, his picture and to abandon him. But we still hope that Messi doesn't come and be a cover to whiten the crimes of the occupation.”

“A direct message to (Lionel) Messi. Messi, don't come. Don't white face the racism, the fascism, the occupation and the systematic violations of human rights and statutes of FIFA. Messi, this is a political event. Don't participate in this political event. Don't share the Israeli occupation in their crimes against the Palestinian people."

Protesters had gathered outside the Argentinian representative office in Ramallah and burned Argentinian flags.

Raya Faqayeh, one of the protestors, said “We are not accepting that Argentina play in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) next week... especially Messi coming to play in Malha, a village that was damaged by Israelis in 1948... where there's no Palestinian living in, and all of them are refugees now in different camps in... all over the West Bank or outside.”

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