DOHA: A group of Qatari activists campaigning against normalising ties with Israel said on Thursday they were shocked by the government’s authorisation of direct flights between Tel Aviv and Doha during the soccer World Cup.

The protest by Qatar Youth Against Normalisation, a vocal group of 24 members, was small but notable in a state where citizens very rarely speak out against authorities.

“It has come as a shock to us that Qatar has entered new territories of normalisation with the announcement that direct flights will now operate between apartheid Israel and Doha,” the group said.

There was no immediate response to requests for comment sent to Qatar’s communications ministry, World Cup organisers or Fifa, soccer’s world governing body.

It said on Thursday it brokered the deal between Qatar and Israel, which do not hold formal diplomatic ties, to facilitate the attendance of eligible Israeli and Palestinian fans at the World Cup.

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2022

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