Flights between Israel and Doha .. a Qatari condition and the “escalation” may cancel the agreement

The International Football Association (FIFA), Thursday, said that direct charter flights will be operated between Israel and Qatar, during the World Cup, to facilitate the attendance of Israeli and Palestinian fans who meet the conditions.

Agency saysBloombergQatar has agreed to operate direct flights from Israel to Hamad International Airport on the condition that it facilitates the exit of Palestinian fans, according to two people briefed on the discussions between the two parties.

Usually, Palestinians need exit permits to travel from Ben Gurion Airport, which often forces them to travel through Jordan.

A Qatari official told Reuters on Thursday that the agreement applies to all Palestinians, including those living in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

“With this agreement, Israelis and Palestinians will be able to fly together and enjoy football together,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement.

Commenting on the event, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken considered the declaration “a historic development and an important and promising step in strengthening relations between the two peoples, in addition to strengthening economic relations.”

However, a Qatari official confirmed that “the agreement that was signed with the aim of facilitating the travel of Palestinians during the World Cup does not mean the trend towards normalizing relations with Israel,” according to Bloomberg.

The official says that Qatar has not noticed any positive development in the area of ​​peace in the region that deserves to modify its position on Israel.

According to Bloomberg, Israel, which does not participate with its team in the World Cup, sees this occasion as a way to further integration in the Middle East after establishing relations with two of Qatar’s neighbors in the Persian Gulf.

Qatar’s neighbors, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, established ties with Israel under US-brokered deals in 2020.

A Qatari official told Reuters that the agreement is part of Qatar’s commitment to FIFA’s requirements to host the tournament and the matter should not be politicized.

He added that thanks to this agreement, the Palestinians will now be able to enjoy the first World Cup tournament in the Arab and Islamic world.

The Qatari official later indicated that Doha had informed Israel “that any escalation in Jerusalem, Gaza or the West Bank” during the tournament would raise the risks of canceling the agreement, including direct flights.

Thousands of Israeli tourists are expected to travel to the Qatari capital, Doha, on unprecedented direct flights.

A FIFA statement said that a spokesperson for Qatar 2022, the tournament’s organizing body, said that the agreement allows ticket holders and Palestinian media “to travel on these charter flights without restrictions because they have an equal right to enjoy the tournament.”

Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement that negotiations over several months led to an agreement to open an “Israeli office in Qatar to provide services to fans coming to the World Cup.”

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs added in a statement that “it was agreed that an Israeli consular team would provide consular services to Israeli citizens who will attend the World Cup.”

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman told Reuters that the Israeli consular team will be based in Qatar during the World Cup, which is being held for the first time in the Middle East from November 20 to December 18.

In response to a request for details about the consular team, the spokesperson said they would be Israeli citizens with experience in this field.

And in June, when Israel announced that its citizens could attend the World Cup in Qatar, Lapid, who is also foreign minister, said this “opens a new door for us to establish warm relations.”

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