DOHA, Qatar (AP) — It was uncharted territory for the Israeli journalist. Wandering through a rural outdoor market in Doha before the start of the World Cup, he struck up a Qatari man in his traditional headdress and flowing white dress and asked for an interview.
“Which channel?” asked Qatari. The journalist replied that he was from Israel’s public broadcaster Kan.
The Qatari was stunned. “Where?”
“Israel,” repeated the journalist. After a pause, the interview ended.
Discussions took place on social media, reflecting the latest political flashpoint of the first World Cup in the Arab world — never mind that neither the Israeli nor the Palestinian national teams are participating in the tournament.
The conflict has erupted since Israelis and Palestinians entered Doha, showing just how strong and emotional their centuries-old conflict is.In which the Palestinians want for a future state, including the open occupation of Israeli lands..
Palestinians shared footage of a Doha confrontation between a Qatari man and an Israeli journalist, along with other clips of Palestinians and Qataris angrily confronting Israeli reporters on live TV. He saw this as evidence that even though Qatar had allowed Israelis to travel directly to Doha and receive consular support. For the first time in history, the conservative Muslim Emirate has no intention of aligning with Israel.
Tal Shurer, a sports reporter for Israel’s Channel 13, said he was pushed, insulted and accosted by Palestinians and other Arab fans during his live reports from the tournament.
“You’re killing children!” During a broadcast this week, a few Arab fans shouted for him to run.
Meanwhile, Qatari media published some such videos with the caption: “No normalization”. Qatari officials, with their history of public support for the Palestinians, have insisted that the temporary opening to the Israelis was purely to comply with FIFA’s hosting requirements – similar to those of neighboring Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. There was no move to normalize relations as was done in 2020.. Qatar has warned that an increase in violence in the occupied West Bank or Gaza Strip would derail the arrangement.
After all, thousands of Israeli soccer fans are expected to arrive in Doha for the World Cup, diplomats say, including some on 10 direct flights over the next month.
Many Israeli fans marvel at the exciting novelty of living in a country that has no diplomatic relations with Israel. Security-conscious citizens comment on how safe they feel.
“My friends and family thought it might be dangerous but it’s OK,” said Eli Agami, an aviation executive who lives near Tel Aviv. “I don’t tell people but I think nobody cares if you’re Israeli or you’re Jewish. Everybody just cares about the game.
Six Israeli diplomats have set up shop in a travel agency office in Doha, ready to respond to crises big and small. To limit potential problems, the Foreign Ministry has launched a campaign urging Israelis to lie.
“We want to avoid any kind of confrontation with other fans and local authorities,” said Elon Lavi, a member of the delegation, referring to the legions of fans from Iran, Saudi Arabia and other countries who are either against Israel or against Israel. Opposing or now suffering from floods in Qatar. “We want to remind (Israelis) … you don’t have to 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 has been set up near the airport, serving classic Aggie Jewish challah bread and olive and hummus sandwiches to hotels and fan zones. They plan to cook other meals for the Jewish Sabbath, which begins at sundown Friday, with all ingredients conforming to kosher dietary laws.
“We’ve received a lot of questions and requests,” said Rabbi Mindy Chatrak, who oversees the effort.
Israel’s main channels are allowed to broadcast from Doha, providing Israeli viewers with continuous coverage of the matches. But unlike other major foreign networks that are centrally located in downtown Doha, the Israelis roam without a formal studio.
Schorer said that while the talks with the Qatari authorities had been entirely cordial, the roads were a different story. He said he advises Israeli fans to hide their Jewish cotton and lose their Stars of David so as not to stir up hostility. When a cell phone salesman saw his friend’s setting in Hebrew, he exploded with rage, yelling at the Israeli to get out of Doha.
“I was very excited to come up with an Israeli passport, thinking it was going to be something positive,” he said. “It’s sad, it’s unpleasant. People were cursing and threatening us.
Palestinian fans from the Arab world – including descendants of those who fled or were forced from their homes in the 1948 war against Israel’s creation – lined the streets of Doha this week in Palestinian flags. Some even tied bandages on Palestinian arms.
A group of young Palestinians living in Doha chanted, “Free Palestine!” Marching through Doha’s historic Souq Waqf market on Sunday
“We want everyone to know about the occupation and the experience of people in Palestine so that more people can support us,” said 26-year-old marcher Sarah Shadid.
He laughed awkwardly when asked about the arrival of Israeli fans.
“I’m a little worried,” he said, adding that he believed his presence was not Qatar’s choice. Doha mediates between Israel and the Hamas militant group and sends cash for the salaries of civil servants in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
When FIFA announced unprecedented direct flights from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv to Doha, Qatari officials promised that the travel arrangements would also apply to Palestinians in both the occupied West Bank and Gaza, who Has been under Israeli-Egyptian blockade since 15 years, since Hamas took control there.
But five days into the tournament, it was unclear how officials would act on the basis.
A senior Israeli diplomat, Lior Hait, said all Palestinian fans wishing to fly out of an Israeli airport must obtain Israeli security clearance to leave and return — an often torturous and unpredictable process. There is action. “It takes some time,” he admitted.
Palestinian General Authority for Civil Affairs spokesman Imad Karakora said he had not heard of any Palestinian asking Ben-Gurion for permission to leave Israel. Palestinians from the West Bank flew to Qatar this week from a Jordanian airport, while those from the Rafah border crossing in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza went to Egypt.
The long-travelling Palestinian fans said they felt their participation in the world’s biggest sporting event was politically motivated.
“I’m here as a reminder that in 2022, our land is still occupied,” said Muawiya Maher, a 31-year-old businessman from Hebron, a particularly tense West Bank city. He was dancing at a FIFA Fan Festival concert wearing the Palestinian flag as a cape. “I think it’s a sad situation. But I’m also proud.”