Israel's diplomatic office in Doha will close with end of the Qatar World Cup
Israeli source tells i24NEWS that temporary diplomatic mission in Gulf state to shutter this week
An Israeli source told i24NEWS on Monday that Israel's temporary office opened in Qatar to handle diplomatic affairs during the World Cup will close this week.
The shuttering of the Israeli mission in the Gulf state was expected following the tournament, which concluded Sunday with Argentina crowned champions following a thrilling final match against France, decided 4-2 on penalty kicks after a 3-3 deadlock.
Qatar does not maintain diplomatic ties with Israel and the House of Thani ruling family is considered a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause. The Palestinian flag was ubiquitous at the tournament despite a ban on flags, with authorities removing Israeli and other flags during matches. It was the first World Cup to take place in a Middle Eastern county.
Israel secured a deal last month with Qatar and FIFA before the start of the World Cup to allow Israeli nationals to travel to the country to attend matches, where they would be able to receive consular services. History was made on November 20 when the first direct commercial flight between Israel and the capital Doha took off with Israeli soccer fans.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that diplomatic staff in Doha only handled 10 incidents out of an estimated 10,000 Israelis (including those who entered with non-Israeli passports) who flew to Qatar for the tournament. The incidents included a medical emergency, an arrest and quick release over a minor incident, and a search for an Israeli who got lost, with the rest mostly about issuing travel documents for lost or stolen passports.
“We are happy to say that the entire event went off with virtually no problems,” said Iris Ambor, head of the Israeli delegation at the World Cup. “We are full of appreciation for the Israeli visitors who took responsibility for themselves and acted with discretion throughout.”