Qatar has said the flights are for World Cup fans and its position on Israel has not changed because the two countries have no relations.
The first direct flight between Israel and Qatar arrived in Doha for the opening ceremony of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, despite the lack of relations between the two countries.
World football governing body FIFA said on November 10 that special flights had been confirmed, and that Cyprus-based Tus Airways would be operating within a month.
On Sunday, the head of Israel’s Public Diplomacy Directorate, Lior Haiat, said at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv that “history has been made” with “the first direct flight from Tel Aviv to Doha”.
The first direct flight between Israel and Qatar has just taken off – fan-favorite #WorldCup2022 #QatarWorldCup2022
and Cypriot Tus Airways 5b-ddl pic.twitter.com/tXpNpVCa6U
– avi sharp (@avisharp) November 20, 2022
FIFA said “Palestinian ticket holders and journalists” “can travel on harvested flights without restrictions”. But it was not immediately clear whether Palestinians living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank or the Gaza Strip would have access to the document.
The plan will be based “on Israel’s security needs”, FIFA said.
Residents of Palestine, the West Bank and Gaza, are facing many difficulties when traveling abroad. Palestinians in the West Bank often travel from Jordan because access to Ben Gurion Airport is restricted. Those in Gaza do not have access to Israel or its airport, except for the very needy.
One of the passengers, Hadar Segal, 35, said the flight was “unique and historic”.
He arranged to watch England play Israel’s rival Iran, as well as a match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia, another Arab country that does not recognize Israel.
Israeli passport holders can often travel to Qatar on special visas issued for sports or conferences. There are no flights available between the two countries.
Qatar has confirmed that its views on establishing good relations with Israel have not changed. It is associated with the Palestinian state that exists through a two-state solution according to the requirements of the United Nations Security Council.
Neighbors, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, established diplomatic relations with Israel under agreements broken with the United States in 2020.