FIFA World Cup: Israelis, Palestinians allowed to fly on same planes
For the first time ever, Israelis and Palestinians will be allowed to fly to FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on the same flights directly from Tel Aviv.
International Football Association (FIFA) announced on Thursday, November 10, 2022, that Qatar and Israel have reached an agreement under which an unnamed non-Israeli airline will operate direct flights between the two countries to transport Israeli fans, as well as Palestinians, to attend the 2022 World Cup, which begins in the 20th of this month.
FIFA said in a statement that under the agreement, “direct chartered flights between Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv and Hamad International Airport in Doha will be temporarily operated by an airline with existing landing rights in Qatar for the duration of the World Cup, in accordance with Israel’s security requirements and operational capabilities.”
FIFA indicated that these trips will be available to Israelis as well as Palestinians, provided that they have a match ticket and a Hayya card, which is considered a visa to enter Qatar.
Since Israel and Qatar lack diplomatic relations, a temporary consular service will be set up in Doha during this period.
The FIFA press release noted that the travel arrangement for Israeli citizens was “part of Qatar’s commitment to FIFA’s hosting requirements and it should not be politicized.”
“With this deal, Israelis and Palestinians will be able to fly together and enjoy football together,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement.
As per the media reports, more than the 8,000 Palestinians and 3,800 Israelis have bought tickets for the tournament.
Qatar is preparing for the influx of fans from all over the world as it hosts the finals of the tournament between November 20 and December 18, the first in an Arab country and the Middle East.
Over the course of 29 days, the tournament will witness 64 matches, with the curtain ending on December 18, coinciding with Qatar National Day, at Lusail Stadium, which can accommodate 80,000 fans.