Israeli and Palestinian fans will have the chance to fly to the World Cup thanks to an agreement with the host nation, Qatar.
FIFA announced temporary chartered flights from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport to Doha, Qatar’s Hamad International Airport.
FIFA’s press release didn’t name an operating airline. However, it did mention that the plan is for the flight to be operated by an airline with landing rights in Qatar.
Reaching a deal for Israeli and Palestinian fans to make the trip to Qatar wouldn’t have been an easy task. Qatar and Israel do not have diplomatic relations with each other, which is why the flights are “temporary.”
“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,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a press release. “With this deal, Israelis and Palestinians will be able to fly together and enjoy football together.”
He continued, “The World Cup is the ultimate symbol of football’s unifying power, and today’s historic announcement provides a platform to improve relations across the Middle East.”
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According to Deccan Herald, Palestinian citizens do not typically have full access to Ben Gurion Airport. FIFA announced that these flights will be “subject to Israel’s security requirements and operational capabilities”.
Those hoping to hop aboard the flight will not only need a ticket, but also a registered Hayya. A Hayya is an ID fans need to enter Qatar.
Both Israeli and Palestinian citizens will have access to consular services while in Qatar. For Palestinians, those services will be through the Palestinian embassy in Doha. Israeli fans will work with a private international travel company based in the same city.
“Today’s announcement will allow Israeli citizens to freely travel to Qatar and attend matches at the World Cup,” Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alon Ushpiz, said.
Ushpiz went on to say that the World Cup “promises to be a celebration of football and an opportunity for Israelis to build connections and share cultural experiences.”
The FIFA World Cup gets underway on November 20 through December 18.
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