Palestinian athletes face ongoing obstacles when participating in competitions.
Qatar has reportedly rejected a request by Israel to set up a representative office during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, official sources with knowledge in the Gulf state told Al Araby Al Jadeed on Monday.
According to the sources, the request for the ‘temporary‘ diplomatic office, designed to assist Israeli spectators during the tournament, was filed through FIFA but was quickly denied by Qatar.
This comes as local Israeli media reported alleged talks between Doha and Tel Aviv on the matter, though the Israeli foreign ministry denied such negotiations.
Similarly, sources that spoke to the Qatar-based news outlet also denied claims pointing towards any direct talks between the Gulf state and Israel, noting that the request was made to FIFA.
While Qatar did open an Israeli trade mission in the late 1990’s following “hopeful” Madrid-Oslo negotiations, the office was later shut down in the 2000’s as a direct response to the the brutal Israeli war on Gaza.
Israel killed at least 1,440 Palestinians during the onslaught.
In more recent years, Qatari officials, including the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani himself, have taken a leading role in condemning Israeli aggression. Doha has also repeatedly expressed its staunch refusal to normalise with the Zionist state as long as it continues its ongoing illegal occupation of Palestine – refusing to fall in line with neighbouring state that have established ties.
The Gulf state says it is committed to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, a move adopted by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) a decade ago that states member countries shall refrain from normalising with Israel until it fully withdraws from lands occupied in 1967.
No direct flights
With no diplomatic relations between Doha and Tel Aviv, there are currently no direct flights between the two.
An Israeli diplomatic source earlier told AFP that there will be no direct flights between Doha and Tel Aviv during the World Cup, amid statements confirming access for Israeli football fans into the Gulf state.
Israeli reports say at least 10,000 Israeli citizens are anticipated to make a “rare” travel to Qatar on a “temporary visa” to attend the competition.
Meanwhile, officials from Qatar have allegedly pushed Israel to permit Palestinian fans to attend the World Cup without obstacles, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported last week. No Qatari official has publicly commented on the matter yet.
Hindering sports development
Israel has long imposed brutal sanctions on native Palestinians.
In addition to ongoing land theft, Palestinian athletes face continued obstacles when participating in competitions worldwide. Palestinian footballers struggle to find places to play due to destruction of facilities across Palestinian lands by Israeli forces.
In 2019, Israel essentially cancelled the Palestine Cup by denying Gazan players travel permits.
This has been highlighted by rights groups as just one example of various flagrant human rights abuses committed by the occupying state in an effort to isolate Palestinians both at home and abroad.
Israel’s restrictions on the movement of Palestinians are highly repressive, with at least 700 obstacles placed around the West Bank and up to 140 checkpoints.
Palestinians and activists from all around the world have long accused FIFA of ignoring letters to suspend the Israeli Football Association’s membership.