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The visit last week to Israel and Palestine by a delegation from FC Barcelona, led by President Sandro Rosell and Vice-President Javier Faus, has been widely reported both in local and international news media.
The announcement of the possibility of playing a friendly in Tel Aviv between FC Barcelona and a side made up of Israeli and Palestinian players, has made a big impression on public opinion, given the importance of the initiative in building bridges between two historically antagonistic communities.
News agencies such as Associated Press, France Presse, Reuters and EFE have reported on the meetings with Israeli President Simon Peres and the President of the Palestine National Authority Mahmud Abbas, and the information has been subsequently taken up by leading international news outlets such as British daily newspaper 'The Guardian' and TV channels France 24 and ABC News.
The BBC correspondent in Jerusalem also covered the story in full, highlighting the comments of Sandro Rosell in which he stated: "FC Barcelona wants to make a modest contribution to build bridges of understanding and harmony between the Israeli and Palestinian people through sports and education."
Wide coverage in leading Israeli media
The visit was also widely reported in the Israeli press. The main daily newspapers put it on their front pages on Friday while the influential 'Haaretz', 'Jerusalem Post', 'Yedioth Ahronoth' and 'Israel Hayom' opened their sports sections with the visit of FC Barcelona.
'Yedioth Ahronoth', the most popular daily in the country, had special coverage of the visit the Barça delegation made on Friday to some of the most emblematic sites in Jerusalem.
On the same day, Barça also featured in Israeli TV Channel 2 programme 'Ulpan Shishi' which, with a 20% audience share, is one of the most widely watched news programmes in the country. The spectators were treated to an extensive report on the Club including interviews with Xavi, Messi and president Rosell.
Coverage in Arab and Palestinian media
The Palestinian media, as well as Arab media in general, also covered in great detail the meeting between Mr Rosell and President Mahmud Abbas at the headquarters of the PNA in Ramallah. The Barça delegation was warmly received in Palestine, a fact that was highlight by the local media. Jibril Rajoub, president of the Palestinian Football Federation and member of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, singled out FC Barcelona as the most popular football team in the country and one of the best in the world. In spite of the difficulties, the Palestinian media – including the influential Watan’ - echoed the words of hope expressed by Rajoub. "The idea presented to us by President Rosell is good and we will analyse it with good intentions”.
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