Israeli-Palestinian conflict catches up with Qatar World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) – It’s an unfamiliar place for an Israeli journalist. Wandering through an outdoor market in Doha before the start of the World Cup, he was approached by a Qatari man wearing a headscarf and white clothes and asked for an interview.

“Which station?” asked the Cathar. A reporter from Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, responded.

The Qatari was surprised. “Where?”

“Israel,” the reporter repeated. A few seconds later, the interview ended.

The exchange went viral on social media, showing a new political identity in the first World Cup in the Arab world – never mind that the national teams of Israel or Palestine are not competing against competition.

Controversies followed that followed Israel and the Palestinians fleeing to Doha, demonstrating the persistence and stability of their century-old conflict.including Israel’s openness to land the Palestinians want for their future.

The Palestinians shared footage of the Doha clash between a Qatari man and an Israeli journalist, as well as other clips of Palestinians and Qataris angry at Israeli journalists on television. They considered it a sign that even Qatar had allowed Israel to fly directly to Doha and receive consular support for the first time in history, the conservative Muslim Emirate has no intention of getting along with Israel.

Israel’s Channel 13 sports reporter Tal Shorrer said he was pushed, jeered and beaten by Palestinians and other Arab fans during his live coverage of the tournament.

“You’re killing babies!” Some Arab fans cried foul about him during the broadcast this week.

Meanwhile the Qatari media has published some of the videos with the caption: “No to reform.” Officials in Qatar, with a history of public support for the Palestinians, said the temporary opening to Israel was necessary to meet FIFA’s hosting requirements – not to establish relations like Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in 2020. Qatar has warned that an increase in violence in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip will result in the failure of the arrangement.

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Still, thousands of Israeli soccer fans will descend on Doha for the World Cup, officials say, including some on 10 flights scheduled for next month.

Many Israeli fans wonder what it’s like to live in a country that has no ties to Israel. Security conscious people describe their sense of security.

“My friends and family thought it was bad but it was good,” said Eli Agami, an airline operator who lives near Tel Aviv. “I don’t go around telling people but I don’t think anyone cares if you’re Israeli or Jewish. Everyone just focuses on the game.”

Six Israeli diplomats have set up a travel agency in Doha, ready to respond to problems big and small. To mitigate potential problems, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched a program that encourages Israelis to live less.

“We want to avoid conflicts with other activists and local authorities,” said Alon Lavie, a member of the group, which represents thousands of activists from Iran. , Saudi Arabia and other countries that are hostile or hostile to Israel flood Qatar. “We want to remind (Israelis) … you don’t stick your fingers in other people’s eyes.”

Israelis have made themselves at home among the glittering skyscrapers of Doha. Qatar’s first kosher kitchen was located near the airport, providing hotels and fan areas with challah bread and olive and hummus sandwiches. They plan to cook for the Jewish Sabbath beginning Friday at sundown, with all meals conforming to kosher dietary laws.

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“We have received many questions and requests,” said Rabbi Mendy Chitrik, who organized the event.

Major Israeli channels have been approved to broadcast from Doha, providing Israeli viewers with live coverage of the matches. But unlike other foreign networks located in the center of the city of Doha, the Israeli people wander without a university.

Shorrer said that while the interactions with Qatari leaders have been very good, there is a different message on the streets. He said he would advise Israeli activists to hide their Jewish kippahs and display their Star of David to avoid provoking anger. When a telecom operator saw his friend’s instructions in Hebrew, he exploded in anger and shouted at the Israelis to get out of Doha.

“I was very happy to come in with an Israeli passport, and I thought that was a good thing,” he said. “It’s sad and bad. People cursed and threatened us.

Palestinian activists from the Arab world – including descendants of those who fled or were driven from their homes in the 1948 war for the creation of Israel – took to the streets of Doha this week wearing Palestinian flags. Some sported Palestinian armbands.

A group of Palestinian youths living in Doha chanted, “Free Palestine!” while walking through Doha’s famous Souq Waqif market on Sunday.

“We want everyone to know about the work and the experiences of people in Palestine so that more people can support us,” said 26-year-old Sarah Shadid.

He laughed out loud when asked about the influx of Israeli activists.

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“I’m disappointed,” he said, adding that he knew Qatar was not the choice. Doha mediates between Israel and the Hamas militant group and funds the salaries of civil servants in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

When FIFA announced the suspension of flights from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv to Doha, the Qatari authorities promised that the travel arrangement would also apply to Palestinians in the West Bank. and Gaza, which has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade for 15 years, since Hamas took over there.

But five days into the tournament, it is not clear how the officials will handle that event.

An Israeli diplomat, Lior Haiat, said that all Palestinian refugees seeking to fly out of an Israeli airport must obtain an Israeli security permit to leave and return – a very unfortunate and unnecessary process. suddenly “It took a while,” he admitted.

Imad Qaraqra, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority for Human Affairs, said he had not heard of any Palestinians asking Israel to allow Ben Gurion to leave. Palestinians from the West Bank went to Qatar this week from Jordan’s airport, while Palestinians from Gaza went to Egypt by crossing the Rafah border.

Palestinian fans who made the long journey described what they described as their visit to the world’s biggest sporting event as a political event.

“I’m here to remind you that in 2022, our country is still occupied,” said Moawya Maher, a 31-year-old businessman from Hebron, a West Bank city. He danced in concert at the FIFA Fan Festival, carrying the Palestinian flag as a bow. “I think it’s kind of sad. But I’m also proud.”


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