Qatar 'denies' Israeli request to open 'consulate office' during World Cup: Doha sources

Qatar 'denies' Israeli request to open 'consulate office' during World Cup: Doha sources
Doha has denied reports that Qatar and Israel were in talks over opening a 'consular office' for Israeli football fans during the World Cup. They said Israel spoke with FIFA, but Doha rejected the request.
2 min read
14 September, 2022
The Qatar World Cup starts on November 20 [Getty]

Qatar has rejected an alleged request by Israel to set up a temporary consulate office during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, according to sources in Doha. 

Israeli media reported last week that Israel and Qatar were engaged in secret talks over a representative office for Israeli football fans during the World Cup. 

Doha has denied reports that there was any direct contact between Israel and Qatar over a "consular office", reported The New Arab's Arabic language sister site Al Araby Al Jadeed. 

Sources in the Qatari capital said Israelis had instead discussed the issue with FIFA but Doha refused the request. 

"Israeli media has in recent days been reporting about talks between Israel and Qatar, in order to open a temporary Israeli consulate in Doha during the World Cup... which sources in Doha denied… and confirmed that this request was sent via FIFA, but Doha rejected it," reported Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The Israeli foreign ministry has also denied that any such negotiations took place, according to Doha News. 

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Tens of thousands of Israeli football fans are expected to attend the tournament in Qatar. 

Last June, an agreement with reached with FIFA to allow Israelis to travel to the Gulf state for matches without the need for a visa. 

Israeli journalists will also be able to go to Qatar, but they are required to fill out a "special journalist" visa. 

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Qatar has not normalised relations with Israel, unlike the UAE and Bahrain. 

Doha said improvements in diplomatic relations with Israel are dependent upon improved conditions for Palestinians

Qatar is committed to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, a move adopted by the Arab League twenty years ago, that states member countries shall refrain from normalising with Israel until it fully withdraws from Palestinian lands occupied in 1967.

However in 2020 Bahrain, the UAE and Morocco normalised ties with Israel despite the continued occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a move which Palestinians saw as a betrayal of their cause.