FIFA announces Tel Aviv-Doha charter flights for World Cup in Qatar | News Qatar 2022 World Cup
Qatar says the organization of the flights respects FIFA’s hosting rules, but insists its stance on normalizing relations with Israel remains unchanged.
FIFA announced on Thursday the operation of direct charter flights between Tel Aviv and Doha during the next FIFA World Cup, with Qatar stressing that its position on normalizing relations with Israel, with which it has no diplomatic relations, remains unchanged.
Football’s world governing body said it brokered the deal which would allow those holding match tickets and valid Hayya fan ID cards to board flights from Ben Gurion Airport to Tel Aviv at Hamad International Airport in Doha during the month-long event.
The Hayya Identity Card is a personalized identification document issued and required by anyone attending a game. At least 8,000 Palestinians and 3,900 Israelis have applied for a Hayya card, a source familiar with the deal told Reuters.
President of the Gianni Infantino Federation said the agreement allows Israeli and Palestinian fans to travel to Qatar and watch World Cup matches.
“With this agreement, Israelis and Palestinians will be able to fly together and enjoy football together,” Infantino said in a statement.
However, FIFA did not share specific details on how Palestinians will be able to enjoy the flights. Israel severely restricts access to Ben Gurion for residents of the occupied Palestinian territories. Palestinians from the occupied West Bank normally pass through Jordan and it is virtually impossible for Gazans to enter Ben Gurion Airport.
A spokesperson for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 said that since Doha was awarded the right to host the global event, he stressed that all ticket holders will be able to attend the matches in the country . The spokesperson also said the announcement reflects Qatar’s commitment to comply with FIFA policies and accommodation requirements.
The direct flights agreement does not change Qatar’s position on the normalization of relations with Israel, which is linked to the establishment of a Palestinian state through a two-state solution in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions. security and the Arab Peace Initiative, a Qatari official said.
“Thanks to this agreement, the Palestinians will now be able to enjoy the first World Cup in the Arab and Muslim world,” the official said.
The official pointed out that Qatar had not seen any positive developments in the peace process that would merit a change in its current policy, stressing that the flight arrangements depended on Israel’s commitment to non-escalation in the territories. Palestinians.
Israeli passport holders can usually only travel to Qatar on special visas issued for sporting events or conferences. There are no existing direct flights between the two countries.
“This is great news for football fans and for all Israelis. After hard work for many months, we have made it possible for Israeli citizens to travel to the World Cup in Qatar on direct flights. , and the opening of an Israeli office in Qatar to provide services to fans coming for the World Cup,” said outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
FIFA has confirmed that consular services for Israeli citizens will be provided in coordination with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs through a designated private international travel agency based in Doha. Palestinians will have access to consular services at the Palestinian Embassy in Doha.
The flight arrangement is “subject to Israel’s security requirements and operational capabilities,” FIFA said in a statement.
Qatar’s Gulf neighbors the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have established diplomatic ties with Israel under US-brokered pacts in 2020.