Peres Praises Barcelona’s Middle East Trip as Peace Contribution

Israeli President Shimon Peres said a visit to the Middle East by FC Barcelona, the most successful European soccer team in the past decade, should contribute to renewed regional peace efforts.

Peres welcomed four-time world player of the year Lionel Messi and his teammates on the Spanish club to Jerusalem today, a day after they were greeted in the West Bank city of Bethlehem by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Barcelona played exhibition matches with Israelis and Palestinians. In between the contests, the Spanish champions visited Christian and Jewish shrines and waded through crowds of fans in both Israeli and Palestinian territory.

The club’s example should help both peoples “score the goal we all hope for -- the goal of peace,” Peres said in a press release.

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