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Arab fans shun Israeli media at Qatar World Cup

Arab fans at Qatar World Cup 2022 are evading Israeli journalists approaching for interview in more than two years after normalization deal signed between Tel Aviv regime and some Arab states.

Some Israeli reporters flew to Qatar ahead of the event on connecting flights, while one was on the first direct flight from Tel Aviv into Doha on Sunday under a FIFA-brokered agreement between the two countries that have no formal ties.

Interview attempts with Arab fans, however, fell flat with reporters from public broadcaster, Kan, and top-rated Channel 12 TV telling Reuters interviewees had walked away.

Israeli Channel 13 reporter said in an on-air report that fans had declined to conduct interview, shouted “Palestine” and draped Tunisian flags on their shoulders.

Footage circulating online showed two Saudi fans, a Qatari shopper and three Lebanese fans walking away from Israeli reporters.

Saudi national, Khaled Al-Omri, who works in the oil industry and was in Qatar to support his home team said he hoped the Tel Aviv-Doha flight route would not become permanent saying, “We hope that, after the World Cup, they’ll close down this air route.”

Aseel Sharayah, a 27-year-old Jordanian at the tournament, said he would have also refused to talk to Israeli journalists, though Amman signed a peace deal with Israel in 1994.

“If I did see any of them, there’d be absolutely no type of interaction,” said Sharayah, who works for the European-Jordanian Committee in Amman. “Their policies are closing the door on any opportunity for more ties between the countries.”

While Israeli footballers did not qualify for the World Cup, Tel Aviv had hoped the presence of an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 Israelis at the event would warm ties.

 

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