JERUSALEM (AUGUST 4, 2013) (SPORTS CHANNEL) - Argentine forward Lionel Messi and his team mates from FC Barcelonavisited Jerusalem's Western Wall on Sunday (August 4), and then met Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Spanish league champions arrived in the region on Saturday (August 3) and showed off their skills during an hour-long clinic with some 40 young Palestinian boys and girls in the West Bank.
The team was making a brief stopover in Israel and the Palestinian territories en-route to a pre-season tour of Asia. They will hold a similar meeting with young Israeli players in Tel Aviv later on Sunday.
In February, Barca said they wanted to play a friendly match against a side made up equally of Palestinian and Israeli players in Tel Aviv but the Middle Eastern neighbours could not agree on arrangements to facilitate holding the fixture.
The Palestinians have complained that Israel's security forces often prevent athletes travelling freely between the Gaza Strip and West Bank, where the Palestinians have limited self rule but over which Israel maintains overall security control.
Israel cites security concerns but says it has eased travel for athletes betweenPalestinian territories. Last month FIFA president Sepp Blatter said during a visit to the region that a task force would address Palestinian concerns on the matter.
Even though they live side by side, Israeli and Palestinian teams do not play each other in competition, as Israel are members of European soccer's governing body UEFA and the Palestine soccer team play in Asia.