|Unspecified locations, so not to upset anyone.|
What to make of FC Barcelona’s brief stop in the Holy Land? No doubt many a football fan was overjoyed to see their sporting heroes in the flesh. 24,000 people did not hesitate in forking over $14 to watch Barcelona jog around and go through the lightest of training sessions and were later treated to a concert by Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf.
Earlier in the day, it was the governmental officials who were rubbing shoulders with the likes of Messi, Iniesta, and Xavi. It seemed all a clever ploy to boost their credentials as a legitimate governing power visits to the Wall and refugee camps were eschewed in favor of a press conference in Ramallah and a brief trip to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
24 hours later the Catalan side did many of the same activities for an Israeli audience. They met Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu, visited the Wailing Wall, and then conducted another training session at the Ramat Gan Stadium.
Shortly afterwards they got on a plane and flew to the Far East to continue preparations for the upcoming La Liga season. Not soon after they left Fahed Attal and Mohammed Shbair were assaulted by IDF troops and a TV van from Palestine Live had to deal with tear gas canisters being fired upon them.
In summation, this trip was much like a trip by a US President; pleasantries are exchanged on both sides of the Green Line, thing stay quiet for about 48 hours, the word ‘peace’ is bandied about 143,435,897 times, and then normal service is resumed after the visit is over.