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Anti-Israel protest plan at Anfield clash with Haifa.

MERSEYSIDE campaigners will protest against Israeli action in the Middle East at Liverpool's clash with Maccabi Haifa at Anfield next week.

A mass protest will take place outside the ground for the Champions League qualifier on Wednesday and organisers hope it will also continue inside.

Placards and banners will call for peace in Lebanon while leaflets will be handed around the stadium calling for a boycott of Israeli goods.

The protest was called for by Liverpool Friends of Palestine and is supported by Merseyside's Stop The War Coalition (STWC) and Trade Union Council (TUC).

Mark Holt, of STWC, said: "We are hoping this event will be noticed by Israeli television, and Israelis will see there are millions of people out there who are disgusted by what is going on.

"We also want to raise awareness among people over here, to make sure they are aware of what is going on.

"Israel has cut off the water, electricity and food supply to 1.3m people in Gaza and in Lebanon has destroyed the infrastructure and killed 1,000 civilians."

Alec McFadden, president of Merseyside TUC, said he was in talks with the club and police about allowing a peaceful protest.

He added: "We want people to take part and make their stand peacefully, but one thing we won't be happy about is if anyone invades the pitch."

Where Liverpool will play the second leg of the third qualifying round against Haifa has still not been decided.

UEFA will announce on Monday whether the match must be played after Rafael Benitez insisted his players should be kept out of the war-torn country.

It is thought the match, which is scheduled to be played at Tel Aviv on August 22 or 23, could be played in Ukraine at the home of Dynamo Kiev.

Last week, Benitez said he was appalled at the prospect of the club's staff, players and fans travelling to Israel for the game.

He said: "It's a crazy situation and totally unacceptable to even think about us going over there at this time.

"It's impossible to prepare for a game in these circumstances."

Liverpool players are said to support their coach's stance, with striker Peter Crouch openly backing Benitez's remarks.

Preparations for the protest were under way last night, hours after Israeli jets renewed strikes on Beirut's southern suburbs.

Four bridges on the coastal highway of the capital were raided as the Israel-Hezbollah fighting entered its 24th day, Lebanese police said.

At least two people were killed and 12 wounded in the raids.

Eight Israeli civilians were killed on Thursday when Hezbollah fired 213 rockets at northern Israel.

Prime Minister Tony Blair will delay the start of his holiday to work on a UN deal for a cease-fire in Lebanon.

The crisis in the region began after Hezbollah kidnapped a number of Israel soldiers.

Leaflet call for boycott of Israeli goods
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 5, 2006
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