Israel Talks Directly with Qatar about Fans Attending the World Cup3 min read
On Wednesday, reports indicated that Israel and Qatar were in direct contact, so that consular assistance is offered to Israeli fans interested in watching the World cup in November.
The soccer tournament
Earlier this year, Israel gave some good news to soccer fans in the country when it said that it had struck a deal with FIFA.
In accordance with the deal with the world soccer body, the fans would be able to watch the soccer World Cup in Qatar.
According to reports, senior officials from Israel visited Qatar in order to hold talks for coordinating before the football tournament begins.
It was said that Israel was also hoping to set up an interests office in Qatar, but the proposal was reportedly rebuffed by Doha.
An Israeli trade office existed in Qatar from 1995 to 2000, but it remains unlikely that it will establish full ties with the country like the other Gulf states because of its own ties with Iran.
The report stated that the two countries are still talking about coordination for the soccer tournament, even though there are no formal diplomatic relations between them.
Reports also indicate that Qatar has asked Israel to permit Palestinians to travel to the country for the soccer tournament as well.
The Gulf nation is interested in using its position in the sporting event to negotiate an agreement between the Palestinians and Israel.
However, no formal announcement has been made about security concerns associated with Israelis visiting Qatar, given that the country has strong ties to the Hamas terror group, Iran and the West.
Israeli media reported back in April that a warning could be issued by the National Security Council about attending the World Cup over fears that Iran could target them.
But, an announcement in June dictated that Israelis could travel to Qatar freely and attend the games in the World Cup. Ordinarily, Israelis are only permitted to enter Qatar if they have a foreign passport.
The terms of the deal that Israel made with FIFA dictate that Israelis who want to attend the World Cup matches will first have to buy a ticket to the game.
The next step would be to get a Fan ID card, which they can do online. If it gets approved, holder would be able to enter Qatar and they would be able to book accommodation.
In June, it was also announced that they were making efforts for facilitating direct flights to Qatar from Israel, but no public announcements have been made in this regard.
Israel has been able to establish new diplomatic ties in the Gulf because sporting tournaments are under pressure.
Two years before the United Arab Emirates established ties with Israel, it had permitted the nation’s flag to be shown during sporting events and anthem to be played.
Reports in May indicated that 15,000 Israeli citizens have already bought tickets for the soccer World Cup. The event is expected to have a lot of security, as over a million people would be in attendance.