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Israel in direct talks with Doha to open consular office for World Cup visitors

Israel closed its previous liaison office in Qatar in 2008

Photo taken in Doha on Aug. 16, 2022, shows a countdown clock for the World Cup in Qatar. (Photo: Kyodo via Reuters)

Senior Israeli officials are reportedly in Qatar talking with local authorities about opening a temporary office to provide consular assistance to the tens of thousands of Israelis who are expected to attend the 2022 FIFA World Cup between Nov. 20 and Dec. 18. 

Qatar announced previously that they had reached an agreement with FIFA to allow Israeli soccer fans and sports journalists to travel to Doha to attend the games, although the journalists will have to be granted a special foreign-media visa.

Israeli officials publicized on Wednesday that the official discussion about developing a temporary consular office in Doha will likely be completed prior to the tournament’s commencement.

Israel closed its previous liaison office in Qatar in 2008, following a round of fighting in the Gaza Strip that soured the host country’s sentiments toward Israel. While Israel has no formal diplomatic relations with Qatar at present, they do coordinate on security-linked issues, such as transferring Qatari aid to Gaza.

Israeli officials have stressed the importance of a consular office for Israelis in Qatar, saying that, in its absence, Israeli soccer fans would have to depend on the help of other countries to meet any diplomatic needs they have while attending the World Cup games.

Although Israeli fans are allowed into Qatar to attend World Cup games, they must first purchase tickets for the games and then apply online for a fan identity card. Only once this is approved will the ticket holder be allowed to enter Qatar and book accommodations for the tournament.

Qatar also has increased pressure on Israel to allow Palestinians to attend the games; they would need to navigate to Qatar through Israeli means. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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