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November 10, 2022 11:23 am
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Qatar to Allow Direct Charter Flights from Israel During World Cup

avatar by Andrew Bernard

General Views of the Lusail Stadium – Lusail, Qatar, March 28, 2022. General view inside the Lusail Stadium, the venue for the 2022 Qatar World Cup Final REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski

Soccer’s international governing body FIFA announced on Thursday that Israelis and Palestinians will be able to take direct flights to Qatar during the 2022 World Cup tournament. The charter flights, operated by an airline yet to be named, would be the first direct flights between Israel and Qatar.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid welcomed the announcement calling it “great news for Israelis and football fans everywhere.”

The announcement follows Saudi Arabia’s decision in July to allow overflights from Israeli airlines and the 2020 Abraham Accords that normalized relations between Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.

“We are delighted that an agreement has been reached for Israeli and Palestinian fans to visit Qatar and attend matches during the FIFA World Cup,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “With this deal, Israelis and Palestinians will be able to fly together and enjoy football together. I would like to thank our Israeli, Palestinian and Qatari counterparts for helping to make this happen.”

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Negotiations for the agreement were held between FIFA, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Culture and Sport, and the LLC responsible for the tournament. Consular services for Israelis flying to Qatar will be provided by a Doha-based travel agency.

Israel’s i24 news reported this week that some 30,000 Israelis are expected to travel to Qatar to attend the World Cup, which will run from 20 November to 18 December. The Israeli national team failed to qualify for the tournament; its first and only appearance to date was in 1970.

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