Palestinians reject soccer game against Barcelona

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Associated Press

Posted on February 22, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 22 at 10:04 AM

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinians won't be teaming with Israelis in a soccer match against Barcelona designed to promote peace.

Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub met with Barcelona President Sandro Rosell on Friday and says there are "lots of obstacles."

Rajoub calls it "a good idea, a dream to become true if the occupation ends."

Rosell made the proposal Thursday with Israeli President Shimon Peres. Rosell says Barcelona aims "to strengthen the bridges of peace and dialogue" between Israelis and Palestinians. Peres says soccer "brings down barriers."

Gaza fans were angered in 2012 when Barcelona gave freed Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit a ticket. Schalit was held captive for five years by Hamas, which rules Gaza.

Palestinian leaders have attended Barcelona games in Spain.

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