FIFA announces flights from Tel Aviv to Doha for World Cup
FIFA announced Thursday that there will be direct charter flights to Doha from Tel Aviv during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which begins on Nov. 20.
The big picture: It's a major agreement for Israel and Qatar, two countries that do not have diplomatic relations.
Details: Israelis and Palestinians will be allowed to fly together from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv to Hamad International Airport in Doha, according to FIFA.
- FIFA did not give specific details on how Palestinians can access the flights. Israel severely restricts access to Ben Gurion for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. They typically must apply for hard-to-obtain permits to use the Tel Aviv airport. The permits are normally almost impossible for Palestinians in Gaza to obtain, per Al Jazeera.
- Most applications aren't accepted until late in the process, AP reports.
- Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza don't have their own airport. They usually travel through Jordan.
What they're saying: "Football has the power to bring people together, it transcends all boundaries, crosses all borders, and fosters unity like nothing else," FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a statement.
A World Cup 2022 spokesperson said in a press release that the announcement "illustrates our commitment to respecting FIFA's policies and hosting requirements including the right of everyone to attend matches."
- "This also includes the requirement that Palestinian ticket holders and media are able to travel on these chartered flights with no restrictions as they have an equal right to enjoy the tournament, which is made extra special by it being the first World Cup to be hosted in the Arab and Muslim world."