RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian football officials say their players won't team up with Israelis in a match against Barcelona that was 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." Rosell launched the initiative Thursday with Israeli President Shimon Peres. Rosell said Barcelona aims "to strengthen the bridges of peace and dialogue" between Israelis and Palestinians. Peres said football "brings down barriers."
But Rajoub says "this issue is a good idea, a dream to become true if the occupation ends." 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.