DOHA, Qatar (AP) — It was uncharted territory for the Israeli journalist. Before the start of the World Cup, he asked for an interview while walking through a rural market in Doha, wearing a traditional Qatari hat and a white robe.
“Which channel?” asked the Qatari. The journalist replied that it was Khan, Israel’s public broadcaster.
The Qatari man was shocked. “Where?”
“Israel,” repeated the reporter. After a split-second, the interview is over.
The exchange has swirled around social media, reflecting the latest political flare-ups at the Arab world’s first World Cup – never mind whether the Israeli or Palestinian national teams will be taking part in the tournament.
The Israeli-Palestinian invasion of Doha shows how deep-rooted and sensitive the conflict is.The Palestinians of Israel want to establish a future state, including occupying open land.
The Palestinians shared the Doha game between the Qatari man and the Israeli journalist, along with other clips of Palestinians and footage of Qataris angrily confronting Israeli journalists on live TV. Although Qatar allowed Israelis to fly directly to Doha and receive consular support, they considered it as evidence. For the first time in its history, the conservative Muslim emirate has no desire to appease Israel.
Israeli Channel 13 sports reporter Tal Shorer was shoved and insulted by Palestinians and other Arab fans when he was reporting live on the match.
“You’re killing babies!” A few Arab fans booed at the broadcast this week.
Meanwhile, Qatari media published some such videos with the caption “No to normalcy”. Qatari officials, who have a history of public support for the Palestinians, only opened the temporary opening to Israel to comply with FIFA hosting requirements – as did neighboring Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in 2011.. Qatar has warned that an escalation of violence in the occupied West Bank or Gaza Strip could derail the event.
Still, thousands of Israeli soccer fans are expected to descend on Doha for the World Cup, diplomats said, including 10 direct flights scheduled for next month.
Many Israel fans are surprised by the surprising novelty of being in a country that does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. Safety-minded citizens report how safe they feel.
“My friends and family thought it might be dangerous, but it’s fine,” said Eli Agami, an aviation executive who lives near Tel Aviv. “I don’t go around to people, but I don’t think anyone cares if you’re Israeli or Jewish. Everyone just cares about the game.
Six Israeli diplomats have set up shop at a travel agency office in Doha, ready to handle crises big and small. To limit potential problems, the Foreign Ministry launched a campaign urging Israelis to lie.
Alon Lavi, a member of the delegation, said, “We want to avoid any conflict with other supporters and local authorities who are hostile to Israel or are now flooding Qatar, citing supporters from Iran, Saudi Arabia and other countries.” “We want to remind[Israelis]… there is no need to poke 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 hotels and fan zones with classic Jewish challah bread and olives and hummus sandwiches. They plan to cook another meal for the Jewish Sabbath, which begins at sundown Friday, with all ingredients conforming to kosher dietary laws.
“We’ve received many, many questions and requests,” said Rabbi Mendy Chittrick, who oversees the effort.
Major Israeli channels were allowed to broadcast from Doha, giving Israeli viewers access to regular coverage of the games. But unlike other major foreign networks located in downtown Doha, the Israelis roam without a formal studio.
According to Schorer, the relationship with the Qatari authorities was perfectly pleasant, but the roads were another story. He said he advises supporters of Israel to hide their Jewish kippahs so as not to stir up hatred for their Star of David. When a mobile phone salesman sees his friend’s settings in Hebrew, he explodes in anger and shouts for the Israelis to get out of Doha.
“I was very excited when I came in with an Israeli passport, thinking it would be something positive,” he said. “It’s sad, it’s unpleasant. People were trampling us. They also threatened us.
Palestinian supporters from Arab countries – including descendants of those who fled or were driven from their homes by Israel’s 1948 war – lined the streets of Doha this week, draped in Palestinian flags. Some sported Palestinian armbands.
Palestinian youth in Doha chant “Free Palestine!” they sang. Walking through Doha’s historic Souq Waqif market on Sunday.
“We want everyone to know about the occupation in Palestine and what people are going through so that more people can support us,” said 26-year-old protester Sarah Shadid.
When asked about the influx of Israeli fans, she laughed.
“I’m a little bit angry,” she said, adding that she was sure their presence was not Qatar’s choice. Doha mediates between Israel and the Hamas militant group and sends money to the salaries of civil servants in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
As FIFA announced unprecedented direct flights from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport to Doha, Qatari officials promised the travel arrangement would accommodate Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. For years since Hamas took control there.
But five days before the start of the tournament, it is unclear how officials will carry out that premise.
Senior Israeli diplomat Lior Hait said all Palestinian supporters who want to fly out of an Israeli airport must obtain Israeli security clearance to leave and return — an often grueling and unpredictable process. “It will take some time,” he said.
Imad Qarakra, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority for Civil Affairs, said he had not heard of any Palestinians asking Ben Gurion for permission to leave Israel. Palestinians from the West Bank traveled to Qatar from Jordanian airports this week, while Palestinians from Gaza entered Egypt at the Rafah border crossing.
The Palestinian fans who made the long journey said they felt their presence at the world’s biggest sporting event had a political purpose.
It’s a reminder that our land will still be occupied in 2022,” said Moawia Maher, a 31-year-old businessman from the particularly tense West Bank city of Hebron. He was dancing at the FIFA Fan Festival concert wearing the Palestinian flag as a cap. “I think it’s a sad situation. But I am proud.