After circulated videos of World Cup attendees boycotting and protesting Israeli journalists, Israel advised nationals not to go to Qatar.
Israel has issued “safety warnings” to nationals traveling to Qatar for the World Cup, citing a “hostile atmosphere” in the Gulf state despite no reports of violence or mistreatment of the 30,000 Israeli fans present.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry issued a “level 3 warning” for Qatar, placing it below Iraq and two states it is officially at war with: Lebanon and Syria. However, no actual travel restrictions have been put in place, The New Arab reported.
Tel Aviv has also dvised Israelis not to speak Hebrew in public or wear overtly pro-Israeli attire in light of the public rejection of Israeli journalists.
In accordance with agreements made with FIFA, Israeli journalists have been permitted to report freely from the World Cup, and the first flights from Tel Aviv to Qatar took off just before the competition started.
However, Israeli journalists appeared baffled by the overwhelming messages of solidarity with Palestinians and widespread refusal to engage with their reporting.
Following Morocco’s win over Belgium, one Israeli pundit pleaded: “We have a peace agreement with you,” as Moroccan fans walked away from an interview, expressing support for Palestine.
The Palestinian flag has flown at every stadium and street during the 2022 World Cup, the first World Cup to ever take place in the Arab world, drawing attention to a cause that is crucial to the region. People in Qatar have been spotted handing out armbands and flags to further encourage displays of Palestine solidarity.
Chants supporting Palestine are also heard on a daily basis at stadiums and touristic hot spots, further showing that the people of the region and beyond have maintained their unwavering stance on the Israeli occupation.
Football fans in Doha heckled Israeli media by waving the Palestinian flag in front of their cameras in yet another powerful display of solidarity. Zionist forces can arrest and kill Palestinians who are living under occupation for carrying out the same actions in Palestine.
The Israeli press has also been accused of attempting to provoke the people of Qatar, causing many to ignore their requests for interview.
More recently, some Israeli journalists have been posing as nationals of other countries. In one viral video, the fans were easily able to identify an Israeli journalist who tried to convince them he was from Ecuador.
Some Israeli outlets were even seen removing their logos from the microphones when approaching football fans.
Viral videos also show fans repeating to Tel Aviv’s media that “there is no such thing as Israel”.
Even though Israel recently signed normalisation treaties with the governments of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan, the treaties appear to be extremely unpopular among the populations.
“Polls show that Arabs still overwhelmingly support the Palestinian struggle despite the treachery of their governments,” said Palestinian academic Dr. Yara Harawi.
“Beyond the region people worldwide continue to support Palestinians & voice their opposition to the Israeli regime’s crimes.”
Before the tournament kicked off, Qatar flatly refused for Israel to operate a temporary consulate in Doha during the World Cup. Instead, Israeli citizens are provided consular services via a privately-operated international travel company located in an office building.
The Gulf state had also pressed Israel to allow Palestinians to travel to Qatar to enjoy the World Cup.
More than 8,000 Palestinians were granted permits to attend the World Cup in Qatar.
Qatar has maintained its staunch refusal to normalise with Israel as long as it continues its illegal occupation of Palestine and carries out flagrant human rights violations.
Earlier this month, Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah Al-Khater said that Palestine will remain present in Qatar’s “conscience” throughout the World Cup.
“We expect to celebrate [the World Cup] with thousands of our brothers and sisters from Palestine and we affirm here that their cause and our just cause in Palestine will always remain present in our conscience,” Al-Khater said while taking aim at crimes committed by the Israeli occupation.