Enmity ongoing, normalization fragile: Israeli media on Qatar WC

27 Nov 2022

Source: Israeli Media

By Al Mayadeen English 

Israeli media comments on the everyday videos being published about Arab fans being hostile toward Israelis in solidarity with occupied Palestine.

A Moroccan fan carrying the Moroccan flag and a Palestinian banner at the Qatar World Cup on November 27, 2022

Israeli media commented Sunday in a very disgruntled manner on the way the Arabic crowds are reacting to Israeli correspondents showing up in Qatar under the guise of reporting on the World Cup and trying to get positive statements that serve the process of normalization from the Arab fans there.

An Israeli Hayom article entitled “The World Cup in Qatar, A Mirror for the Israelis: They Do Not Like Us nor Want Us” argued that the World Cup put the Israeli occupation before a harsh and bitter reality for the Israelis.

The Israelis clarified that they saw for the first time they saw a large-scale experience of rejection, neglect, hatred, and the non-acceptance of Israelis in an Arab-Muslim country.

“Everyone claiming that the people of the Gulf do not have enmity toward Israel saw that they have been tricked, and they are experiencing a different reality,” the article added.

“News reporters in Israeli channels enthusiastically went to Qatar and set up their cameras, waiting for the Arabs living in the Gulf and the various other Arab countries to praise Israel,” it said. “However, they soon found themselves subject to contempt, avoidance, and mockery from those same Arabs.”

An Israeli news channel showed earlier in the day Moroccan fans refusing to talk to an Israeli reporter, chanting in support of Palestine and against the occupation, despite the Israeli correspondent stressing that “your government normalized ties with us… we must be at peace now!”

Israeli media commented on how a group of Arabs refused to be interviewed by an Israeli reporter and confronted him by saying “there is no such thing as Israel. It is Palestine.” The author said this was expected, noting that he “was not surprised that the overwhelming majority of Arab football fans refused to be interviewed by Israeli television channels.”

Embarrassing situation

“It is only those that do not understand how the people feel in the Arab World that will rush and set up a camera, begging an Arab to be interviewed by an Israeli channel,” the author added.

He described what the Israeli reporters were subjected to, from humiliation to embarrassing situations and even having to conceal their identity by saying: “It is shameful to see an Israeli journalist begging and hugging whoever allows him to interview them to urge them to speak positively about Israeli, only for it to appear that they don’t consider that there is an Israel, only Palestine.”

Normalization takes a hit

“This is a series blow to anyone who thought normalization was right at the corner and that normalization with Arab countries was just a matter of time,” the author wrote.

“The behavior of the average Arab citizen toward Israel shows an enmity that is more than 70 years old, and it indicates that the root of the problem is still very much alive, kicking us down, and dealing blow after blow to us.”

This is the truth and this is reality, the article stressed. “Whoever does not want to see that must close their eyes. But the harsh, bitter, and, in my opinion, painful reality is that unless the Palestinian cause is solved somehow that is acceptable by all parties, we are not and will not be welcome in Arab countries. Even in countries that have signed normalization agreements.”

“It is enough to look at the normalization agreements with Egypt to understand how we did not make any progress with the Egyptian people, which is still among the most hostile Arab peoples toward Israel,” he stressed.

Normalization agreements fragile

Former Shin Bet official Doron Matza wrote in an article on the Makor Rishon website titled, “The hatred of Israel in Qatar indicates that the Abraham Accords have a glass ceiling,” that “the rude way Arab football fans are dealing with Israeli media correspondents surprised reporters, which opened their eyes to the status quo in the Middle East and Israel’s ties in the region.”

“They do not like us in Qatar and, as apparently, in the whole Middle East, and this is the conclusion that the journalists drew in light of the unpleasant interactions with Saudi, Qatari, and Iranian fans, among others,” Matza added.

“It turns out that nothing has changed… Even if it is good to be optimistic, we must not ignore reality,” he stressed.

He also said the normalization agreements signed with Arab regimes were lackluster in terms of influencing the people, saying they “were formed against the less ideological parties in the region, such as the United Arab Emirates.”

The author then concluded that the normalization agreements signed did not influence anything in terms of how the people of the region felt toward the Israeli occupation.

“The events that took place in light of the Qatar World Cup prove that Israel’s regional standings and the contents of the Abraham Accords have a glass ceiling,” the author underscored.

An Israeli KAN public broadcaster correspondent in Qatar complained Thursday about “unpleasant” incidents he was subjected to in Qatar during the channel’s coverage of the FIFA World Cup championship being held in the country due to him being Israeli, a heavily opposed “nationality” in the region.

Hoffman also said that when he and his team arrived at a restaurant at a local beach with his team, he took some photos. The restaurant’s owner inquired about their nationality, asking them where they were coming from. “When he found out that we are from Israel, he brought the restaurant’s security guards, and they kicked us out. They also took my phone and deleted all the photos I had taken.”

Another Israeli correspondent said a few days ago that he was bothered by the stances of the Arab fans attending the 2022 World Cup, saying that they would refuse to be interviewed by him due to his allegiance.

According to the correspondent, young Lebanese men were enraged when they found out that he was Israeli, saying: “I would also like to say that even off the air, whichever Arab fans we meet there with and introduce ourselves to, they reject talking to us altogether.”

Since the World Cup kicked off, there have been various videos that went viral of Arab fans refusing to be interviewed by Israeli media.

“All attempts to talk to football fans in Doha did not go according to plan,” Israeli media has said. “Videos are being circulated online are of Saudi fans, a Qatari shopper, and several Lebanese fans purposely avoiding Israeli reporters.”

Israeli Channel 12 correspondent, Ohad Hamo, expressed his frustration from the “maltreatment” of the Arab masses he came across in the Qatar 2022 World Cup. Arab people of all nations refused to be interviewed by him, an Israeli, during a live TV broadcast. 

“Everyone knows us, perhaps from the widespread Tik Tok videos. They come to us and criticize us being here,” Hamo said in objection. “I don’t know why,” he cried out. 

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