The Palestinian flag was seen fluttering widely across Qatar during the World Cup, held up by both players and fans on and off the pitch.
Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas commended Qatar for using its global platform as hosts of the FIFA World Cup 2022 to promote the Palestinian cause.
Abbas issued a message thanking Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani over the success of the major tournament after its conclusion on Sunday with an intense match that saw Argentina beat France in penalties.
The Arab leader praised Qatar on its “great success” organising the competition and noted it “brought pride to our souls and the souls of our Arab nations,” he said to Sheikh Tamim, reports said, citing state news agency Wafa.
Abbas applauded Qatar and the “civilised, organised and humanitarian” organisation of the tournament “in a manner which is a historic addition to Qatar’s many achievements, as well as the support provided during this occasion to Palestine, presenting the Palestinian cause to the world in an unprecedented way.”
Palestine’s flag has been fluttering widely across Qatar, held up by players and fans in and outside stadiums, in a symbol of support by Arab nations for the Palestinians.
This came despite rulers of Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signing a controversial normalisation agreement with Israel in 2020, dubbed the Abraham Accords.
Many fans were also seen wearing the Palestinian keffiyeh throughout the event, while Morocco’s players held up the Palestinian flag during their on-pitch celebrations.
“The Qatar World Cup has restored the fact that the Palestinian cause is central to the Arab and Muslim worlds and to the other nations around the world, and that the issue is still alive in the hearts of the Ummah and all free people in the world,” penned the Palestinian National Authority news agency, Wafa.
“The widespread solidarity with the cause was the strongest confirmation of its justice and clear support for the legitimate Palestinian rights.”
Hamas also pointed out Qatar had helped resurrect the Palestinian file during the World Cup.
“The real winner in the 2022 World Cup is the State of Qatar, as it dazzled the world by producing the tournament at this wonderful level,” tweeted Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.
“Qatar genuinely expressed the nation’s identity and civilisation, and contributed to bringing the issue of Palestine back to the top. Congratulations, Qatar. You deserve to be proud of this wonderful achievement.”
There were also countless accounts of fans refusing to speak to Israeli journalists and pointing out that: “It’s not Israel. It’s Palestine.”
World Cup host Qatar has no relations with Israel and remains a supporter of the decades-long Palestinian cause for statehood.