Imagining Palestine: Cultures of Exile and National Identity – Book Review

January 13, 2023

Imagining Palestine: Cultures of Exile and National Identity, by Tahrir Hamdi. (Photo: Book Cover)

By Jim Miles

– Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews to Palestine Chronicles.  His interest in this topic stems originally from an environmental perspective, which encompasses the militarization and economic subjugation of the global community and its commodification by corporate governance and by the American government.

(Imagining Palestine – Cultures of Exile and National Identity.  Tahrir Hamdi. I. B. Taurus, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, London, 2023.)

In her recent work, “Imagining Palestine”, Tahrir Hamdi has made an intriguing, thought-provoking, and challenging discussion on the idea and reality of Palestine. Imagining Palestine is the ongoing process of remembering and living the ongoing tragedies of the nakba – and keeping alive the culture, geography, and ideals of the Palestinian people. There are two main themes that stand out throughout the ‘imagining’ process: the ideas of exile and the necessity of violent resistance.

Exile

Throughout the discussions of the various Palestinian writers and artists is the recurring theme of exile. Two other terms are used frequently – dispossession and of dispersion. This refers to the physical/geographical displacement of the refugees, internal and external, in the many refugee camps in Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan as well as the refugees living farther abroad in many countries around the world. Internal exile includes the many apartheid bantustans, the hundreds of checkpoints, the ‘wall’, and all other Israeli initiatives to limit travel of any kind – medical or agricultural or family – within occupied Palestine (being the whole).

Exile also includes the culture and ideas creating a Palestinian narrative – the attempt by the colonial settler Zionists to eliminate the elements of Palestinian life ranging from the destruction of libraries, and the expropriation of agriculture, to the destruction of the olive trees. Many of the latter are over one thousand years old and represent family, the past, and the future; they highlight both ecological and cultural violence against the Palestinians – a bitter leaf with life-giving properties.

Behind the idea of exile is of course the right of return,

The United Nations General Assembly adopts Resolution 194 (III), resolving that “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”

The symbols of Palestinians’ right of return are characterized by the deeds to land and the keys to houses stolen or destroyed by the Israeli military during the 1948 nakba. Until all Palestinians are free to return home, those few that do, as discussed by Tahrir, are not truly returnees, but remain in exile within their homeland.

Violent Resistance

As recognized by the writers reviewed in Imagining Palestine, the idea of resistance is paramount, “the colonized must liberate themselves by ‘use of all means, and that of force first and foremost.’”. International law allows for an occupied people/territory to legally resist the occupying/colonizing power. For those imagining Palestine, culture comes first then the resistance struggle – signifying a unity of purpose, an inclusiveness and not a mixture of individualized ideals.

In other words, by dividing the Palestinian people into apartheid regions, into different ‘terrorist’ organizations, into different levels of control superseded by the Palestinian Authority acting as security police for Israel, the Israelis – and factions within Palestine itself – preclude an organizing, organic whole necessary for successful resistance against an occupying force. A “collective national identity” is necessary first before a resistance can be successfully implemented.

As expressed by Tahrir,

“The living heritage of Palestine has been focussed and repurposed for the aim of creating a culture of resistance. To imagine Palestine does not mean to contrive something that was not there, but rather to make possible the very idea of resistance, victory, and liberation…an enabling idea.”

Subthemes

Several other themes occur through Tahrir’s analysis of those Imagining Palestine.

The complicity of Arab regimes is reiterated frequently and although not dwelt upon, it is recognition that the ‘regime’, the leaders of the Arab countries, are more concerned about their own survival than the problems faced by the Palestinians. Platitudes are made, peace treaties are made, official recognition of Israel is given, and still, the Palestinians are ignored. Except….

Except as shown by the recent Football World Cup in Qatar (after the publication of this book), the Arab street is still very much aligned with the Palestinians regardless of their separate governments’ attitudes and actions. Farther abroad from Ireland and Scotland to Argentina and others, solidarity with Palestine is strong at the level of international football – not the organizers, but the fans and the players.

Another subtheme, related to all above, is the vast amount of US support for the Israeli government as well as the influence the US carries over many of the Arab states. Capitalism thrives in this environment: three companies “and others thrive on the ‘always war’ policy of the world capitalist system, which gave birth to slavery and the colonialist enterprise.” A strong (im)moral component enters into this support as well with the combination of the evangelical right wishing for the end times and the antiterrorist rhetoric used mainly to reinforce US attempts at global hegemony (via military support for the US $).

Indigenous rights is another subtheme mentioned throughout the book. In particular, the rights of Indigenous North Americans and South Africans are used in comparison to their similarities to the colonial settler regime in Israel. African Americans, while not ‘colonized’ in the strictest sense, are a product of the capitalist-colonial mindset where the ‘other’ is, at best, property to be bought and sold, and when not useful, to be eliminated in one fashion or another.

Resistance

The recreation and remembering of Palestinian culture in all its forms, and the bringing together of a collective national identity, a living heritage creates an imagined future Palestine as a unitary democratic and peaceful society. The will to resist is alive in many forms and an Imagined Palestine exists, anticipating its liberation as a free, independent country.

The Price of Betraying Palestine: Moroccans Challenge Normalization with Israel

December 30, 2022

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Morocco’s cities to demonstrate against normalization with Israel. (Photo: Moroccan Front for Supporting Palestine FB Page)

By Ramzy Baroud

Two years ago, Morocco and Israel signed the US-brokered “Joint Declaration”, thus officially recognizing Israel and instating diplomatic ties. Though other Arab countries had already done the same, the Moroccan official recognition of Apartheid Israel was particularly devastating for Palestinians.

Years ago, a close Moroccan friend told me that the ‘first time’ he was arrested was during a solidarity protest for Palestine in Rabat which took place many years ago.

The reference to the ‘first time’ indicated that he was arrested again, though mostly for other political activities, suggesting that Palestine, in many ways, has become a local struggle for many Moroccans.

Whenever Moroccans protest for Palestine, they would do so in large numbers, sometimes in their millions. Such solidarity has historically served as the foundation of regional and global solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.

Though ordinary Arabs have always considered Palestine a core struggle, the relationship between North Africans and Palestine is, in many ways, unique and rooted.

Despite a strong push for normalization between Arab countries and Israel, countries like Algeria and Tunisia made it clear that no diplomatic ties between their respective capitals and Israel would be declared anytime soon.

Credit for this goes mostly to the Algerian and Tunisian peoples who have made their rejection of Israeli racism, and support for Palestinian freedom akin to local or national struggles. Palestinian flags have always accompanied flags of these countries during any large gathering, be it a political protest or a sports event.

Morocco is no exception. Solidarity with Palestine in this country goes back generations, and hundreds of activists have paid a price for confronting their government on its failure to stand up to Israel or to challenge Washington for its support for Tel Aviv.

The normalization agreement between Rabat and Tel Aviv in 2020 was falsely assumed to be an end to popular solidarity with Palestine. In fact, such acts of normalization, rightly considered a betrayal by Palestinians, were also meant to be the final delinking of Palestine from its Arab and regional environs.

However, this was not the case. Normalization with Apartheid Israel is still strongly rejected by the vast majority of Arabs, as opinion polls indicate. Moreover, the pouring of love for Palestine during the Qatar World Cup demonstrated, beyond doubt, that Israel cannot possibly be accepted by Arabs while still an occupying power and a racist apartheid regime.

The little political gains achieved by the Moroccan government in exchange for sacrificing the rights of Palestinians shall prove irrelevant in coming years. In fact, signs of this are already on display.

The Moroccan government, led by the Development and Justice Party of Saadeddine Othmani, which had taken part in the normalization efforts, was rejected en masse in the September 2021 elections. Only nine months earlier, Othmani was signing the “Joint Declaration” with Israel’s National Security Advisor, Meir Ben-Shabbat.

The US recognition of Rabat’s claim over Western Sahara as the political barter between Rabat and Washington, which led to the normalization with Tel Aviv, shall eventually prove meaningless.

The US and Western superiority is increasingly being challenged throughout the African continent, especially in West and Central African regions. Powerful new players, like Russia and China, are gaining geopolitical ground, in some regions entirely replacing the West’s dominance. Thus, the US support for any country’s territorial ambitions is no longer a guarantor of political gains, especially as the African geopolitical spaces have become greatly contested.

When Morocco normalized with Israel, many Moroccans were taken by surprise. The assumption was that Morocco, like other Arab nations, was too consumed by their own problems to notice their government’s foreign policy shifts, whether regarding Palestine or anywhere else.

Whether that was the case or not, it matters little now. On the second anniversary of the “Joint Declaration” agreement, tens of thousands of Moroccans demonstrated against normalization in 30 different cities, including Rabat, Agadir, Tangier and Meknes. The protests were mobilized by the Moroccan Front for Supporting Palestine and Against Normalization.

The Front is reportedly a network that includes ‘over a dozen political and human rights organizations,’ the New Arab reported. Their chants included “The people want to bring down normalization”, a slogan that is reminiscent of the pan-Arab popular slogan of a decade ago, ‘The people want to change the regime’. The latter resonated throughout many Arab capitals during the years of political upheaval in 2011 and upward.

This popular movement and its chants indicate that Palestine remains a local and national struggle in Morocco, as well as other Arab countries.

But why Morocco, and why now?

The popular association of the Moroccan and Palestinian flags throughout the World Cup had an invigorating effect on the collective psyche of Moroccans, who were empowered by their national team’s impressive showing against legendary teams such as Belgium, Spain and Portugal. It was a matter of time before this confidence translated to actual solidarity on the streets of Rabat and other major Moroccan cities.

The fact that Moroccans are mobilizing in large numbers against their country’s normalization with Israel only two years after the agreement is a sign of things to come.

2022 was a particularly bloody year in Palestine, according to UN Mideast Envoy, Tor Wennesland, who said that it was “on course to be the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since … 2005.”

Moroccans, like other Arab nations, are following the news with alarm, especially following the swearing-in of Israel’s new extremist government of Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right fascist ilk – the likes of Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir.

These two individuals’ constant targeting of Al-Aqsa Mosque, in particular, has a great emotional impact on Moroccans, especially since Morocco serves as the Chair of the Al-Quds Committee of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which is tasked with the protection of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israel wants to normalize with the Arabs and tap into their massive markets and economic largesse without having, in return, to relinquish its military Occupation or grant Palestinians basic freedoms. Politically engaged Arab masses understand this well, and are growingly mobilizing against their governments’ betrayal of Palestine.

The self-serving and limited gains of normalization are likely to turn into a political liability in coming years. It is time for Morocco and others to reconsider their ties with Israel, as they risk political isolation and social instability, a far greater price to pay than the empty promises of Washington and Tel Aviv.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

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Netanyahu Passes the Standard to Ben-Gvir Announcing the Fall of the Entity

December 20, 2022

by Nasser Kandil

Those talking day and night about a wave of normalization invading the Arab world, in the midst of whom voices for resistance have been a dissonant chord, should fall silent. Suffice it for them to read or listen well or view and consider the hundreds of reports swarming in all forms of Israeli media, written, broadcast, and telecast, about the shift of the interest in Qatar’s Mondial from a celebration of normalization to its obituary and burial, regardless of the Qatari authorities’ stance which had granted the Israeli media all necessary facilitation confirmed in Israeli media reports about the catastrophic surprise which awaited their crews who had been sent by their Israeli media headquarters carrying the background intention of holding a celebratory festival side by side with the Mondial entitled normalization, only to find in every corner and every street and with every Arab citizen from Morocco, to Saudi Arabia, to Lebanon, to Qatar, to the Emirates a rejection of normalization to the degree of dealing with an Israeli as a plague requiring handwashing after contact, from the taxi driver, to the restaurant waiter, to passerby Mondial supporters among whom the Israeli media crew utterly failed to find one Arab who agreed to a photo op with them, but instead, faced what one media crew member described, as panic and fear when a mobile phone was snatched and photos taken deleted, or the kicking out of a passenger and leaving him stranded in the middle of a deserted road, or forcibly removing a group of media crew from a restaurant and throwing them to the street. Such signals, the dimensions of which are important and analyzed by the Israelis, and ignored by promoters of normalization of the Arabs, say beyond a doubt, that the span of normalization is packing its luggage and leaving.

Benjamin Netanyahu who accompanied the Deal of the Century and normalization projects and frequently boasted that they were the most important compensation for the fears raised by the growth of the resistance in Palestine, and the growth of its strength on Palestine’s borders, knew fully well that the normalization phenomena in the Gulf were only appetizers awaiting the main dish of Saudi Arabia joining the normalization option, and on the outcome of such joinder, when it occurs, as the remaining hope to restore the entity’s regional role, in the shadow of its receding ability to seize it through omnipotent military superiority, with Netanyahu also knowing that such hope being dependent on American success in bringing Saudi Arabia into obedience, and trading conferring legitimacy on the Saudi Crown Prince Mohamad Bin Salman and bypassing the dossier of the killing of the journalist Jamal Kashoggi as a strong point to pressure him into an advanced step in normalization with the Occupation Entity. Following stumbles during U.S. President Joe Biden’s last visit to Saudi Arabia a few months ago, and in translating the invitation for Saudi Arabia to participate in merging “Israel” in both Gulf and Arab milieus, came the rising setbacks in American-Saudi relations, with Saudi positioning mid-road between Washington, Beijing, and Moscow. Enter the American announcement of judicial immunity to the Saudi Crown Prince, and Netanyahu’s burial of his last dreams and hopes.
The return to Palestine, no longer an option, became a fate for Netanyahu or any other leader in the Entity with the failure of the bet on a wave of normalization as a strategic shift after of Saudi Arabia’s joining. The wailing scenes of the Israeli media about the lie of normalization has fired the bullet of mercy on that delusion, and Netanyahu’s return to Palestine implies a return to the conflict considerations well known to Netanyahu, who knows that he lies when he talks the language of challenge with Al Mukawama (Resistance), being the one who, with deterrence power in the gutter, agreed to a cease fire after the Seif Al- Quds conflict. It was under his successive premierships that the transformation of the resistance in Gaza from a defensive force to one of offense occurred, and the resistance in Lebanon obtained its precision missiles despite his lavish rhetoric about targeting them through Syria, and his inability to respond convincingly to the Israeli interior about the secret regarding not targeting them in Lebanon since he was boasting about his power and knowledge about where they were stored, and displaying photos at the UN General Assembly which he said showed the missiles’ depot locations. For all those reasons, Netanyahu knows that he faces a dead end if he decides to return to classic rules of engagement, and knows well that the loss is certain and the erosion unquestionable. Because Netanyahu knows all of this, his last bet was on a wave of normalization in the hope of changing the rules of engagement, and particularly its Palestinian dynamics with Saudi Arabia’s joining, and what it promises the Israelis economically and in terms of expanding the horizon for their hope to remain in the entity, and reproducing a centrist power in the Israeli aggregate which historically had formed the base for a project of “statehood” and “politics,”, and in the absence of which the project of “statehood” gave in to the ideologues and settlers, and the project of “politics” to bloody civil confrontations on one side between the Palestinians as the authentic inhabitants, and on the other side the Settlers. Netanyahu, who is aware of the fall of the projects of “statehood” and “politics” knows the limits of his options, and in view of his retreat from his threat of withdrawing from the agreement of the division of the economic areas with Lebanon by stating that he would give it the same treatment as the Oslo Agreement, will not even dare to do that, i.e. not to comply, because he knows the consequences, and has been the first in avoiding them and seeking to deal with them realistically.

Netanyahu, returning after the elections, reads the fall of the entity with the rise of the Zionist ideology and Settlement bloc and its call to ethnic cleansing, deportation, and killing represented by its rising star Itamar Ben-Gvir, and despite his awareness of the American and European stance and the consequences of granting the internal security cabinet to Ben-Gvir on internal security itself, and on “Israel’s” image abroad and its positon among general opinion groups and Western rights organizations, undertakes such a step in acknowledgement that the era of the “State of Israel” has ended, and that handing over the standard to the tide of settlers and ideologues, either succeeds in creating a new formula inside Palestine which brings back the chance of uniting the entity under a power ceiling, and restoring its regional position through that gateway, similar to the Independence war of 1948, through the deportation of Palestinians and creating an open massacre against them in Jerusalem and the West Bank and the land occupied in 1948, or such risk results in to more disintegration and rehabilitates politics and the project of “statehood,” with Netanyahu being on the grabbing end in both cases.

In Palestine, a new stage dawns, entitled no voice above the battle’s clamor, and no sound above that of bullets, and with Ben-Gvir, no need for Mahmoud Abbas’ authority or his security forces and coordination with the occupation, but rather need Fateh and the Cyclone Forces and the Aqsa Brigades side by side with the resistance factions from Al Qassam to Saraya Al Quds to Areen Al Ousoud, and just like the Palestinian blood defeated the first wave of normalization and prevented the second, it will successfully undertake defeating its remnants at the sound of the horn of confrontation when Ben-Gvir takes over the Ministry of Internal Security, with the Axis of Resistance who is aware that the preservation of the national and nationalist interests of its forces cannot be secured outside the dialectic of confrontation with the occupying entity, standing as a referee in the same trench with the people of Palestine and its resistance forces.

نتنياهو يسلم الراية لبن غفير معلناً سقوط الكيان

نوفمبر 26, 2022

ناصر قنديل

ــ يجب أن يخرس الذين يتحدّثون صباح مساء عن موجة تطبيع تجتاح العالم العربي، ويشكل دعاة المقاومة الصوت النشاز فيها، فيكفي أن يتقن هؤلاء القراءة أو أن يجيدوا السمع والمشاهدة ويتوقفوا أمام مئات التقارير المكتوبة والمرئية والمسموعة التي تعجّ بها وسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية، حول انتقال الاهتمام بمونديال قطر من الاحتفال بالتطبيع إلى نعيه ودفنه، والأمر لا علاقة له بموقف السلطات القطرية التي منحت لكل وسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية كل التسهيلات اللازمة، كما تقول التقارير الإعلامية التي تتحدث عن مفاجأة كارثية كانت بانتظار المراسلين الذين أوفدتهم وسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية بخلفية إقامة مهرجان احتفالي إلى جانب المونديال عنوانه التطبيع؛ فإذا بها تجد في كل زاوية وكل شارع ومع كل مواطن عربي من المغرب والسعودية ولبنان وقطر والإمارات موقفاً يصل رفضه للتطبيع حد التعامل مع الإسرائيلي كأنه طاعون يجب غسل الأيدي بعد ملامسته، كما علّق أحد هؤلاء المراسلين، من سائق الأجرة الى نادل المطعم الى المشجعين الى العابرين في الشوارع عجزت فرق الإعلام الإسرائيلية عن إيجاد عربي واحد يقبل صورة ودّية مع أعضائها، بل إنها واجهت ما وصفه أحد المراسلين بالذعر والخوف مع مصادرة الهاتف النقال ومحو الصور منه، أو إنزال الراكب في منتصف طريق مهجور وطرده، أو إخراج الفريق من مطعم عنوة ورميه في الشارع. وهذه العلامات التي يهتم بها ويحلل أبعادها الإسرائيليون ويرغب بتجاهلها مروّجو التطبيع من العرب، تقول بما لا يقبل الشك إن زمن التطبيع يحزم حقائبه ويرحل.

ــ بنيامين نتنياهو الذي رافق صفقة القرن ومشاريع التطبيع وطالما تباهى بأنها التعويض الأهم عن المخاوف التي يسببها تنامي المقاومة في فلسطين وتنامي قوتها على حدود فلسطين، يعرف أن ما جرى من ظواهر تطبيع في الخليج كانت صحون المقبلات بانتظار الوجبة الرئيسية التي يمثلها انضمام السعودية إلى خيار التطبيع، ورهان نتنياهو على النتائج الناتجة عن مثل هذا الانضمام عند حدوثه كان الأمل المتبقي لرد الاعتبار لدور الكيان الإقليمي، في ظل تراجع قدرته على انتزاع مكانته الإقليمية بقوة تفوقه العسكري المطلق، ويعرف نتنياهو أن هذا الأمل كان رهن نجاح أميركي بجلب السعودية الى بيت الطاعة، ومقايضة منح الشرعية لولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان وتجاوز ملف قتل الصحافي جمال الخاشقجي كورقة قوة أميركية للضغط عليه، بقبول السعودية الذهاب الى خطوة متقدمة في مجال التطبيع مع كيان الاحتلال. وبعد التعثر خلال زيارة الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن الى السعودية قبل شهور، في ترجمة دعوته السعودية للمشاركة في دمج “اسرائيل” في البيئتين الخليجية والعربية، جاءت أزمة العلاقات الأميركية السعودية الآخذة في التصاعد مع تموضع سعودي في منتصف الطريق بين واشنطن وبكين وموسكو. وجاء الإعلان الأميركي عن منح الحصانة القضائية لولي العهد السعودي، ليدفن نتنياهو آخر أحلامه وآماله.

ــ العودة إلى فلسطين لم تعد خياراً بل صارت قدراً بالنسبة لنتنياهو او لسواه من قادة الكيان، مع سقوط الرهان على موجة تطبيع تشكل تغييراً استراتيجياً تنتج عن انضمام السعودية إلى هذه الموجة. والمشهد البكائي لوسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية عن كذبة التطبيع يطلق رصاصة الرحمة على هذا الوهم، والعودة إلى فلسطين تعني العودة الى حسابات الصراع التي يعرفها نتنياهو جيداً، وهو من يعلم أنه يكذب عندما يتحدث عن لغة التحدي مع المقاومة، فهو من قبل وقف النار بعد معركة سيف القدس وقوة الردع في الحضيض. وفي ولاياته المتتابعة تحولت المقاومة في غزة من قوة دفاعية الى قوة هجومية تهدّد ثم تفتح النار في سيف القدس. وفي ولاياته المتتابعة امتلكت المقاومة في لبنان صواريخها الدقيقة رغم كثرة كلامه عن استهداف هذه الصواريخ عبر سورية، وعجزه عن تقديم جواب مقنع للداخل الإسرائيلي عن سر عدم استهدافها في لبنان طالما أنه يتفاخر بقوته ويعرف أماكن تخزينها، كما فعل بإظهار صور قال إنها تظهر أماكن مستودعات الصواريخ أمام الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة، ولذلك كله يعرف نتنياهو أن الكيان يواجه طريقاً مسدودة إذا قرر العودة الى قواعد الاشتباك التقليدية، ويعرف ان الخسارة محتومة وأن التآكل حتمي.

ــ لأن نتنياهو يعرف كل ذلك كان رهانه الأخير على موجة التطبيع أملا بتغيير قواعد الاشتباك، وخصوصا ديناميكيتها الفلسطينية بتأثير انضمام السعودية، وما تعد به الإسرائيليين اقتصادياً وتفتح أمامهم آفاق الأمل بالبقاء في الكيان، وتعيد إنتاج قوة وسطية في التجمع الصهيوني شكلت تاريخياً قاعدة مشروع “الدولة” و”السياسة”، وبغيابها غاب مشروع “الدولة” لحساب جماعة العقيدة والمستوطنين، وغابت السياسة لحساب مشروع المواجهات الدموية الأهلية، بين الفلسطينيين كسكان أصليين من جهة والمستوطنين من جهة مقابلة، ونتنياهو المدرك لسقوط مشروع “الدولة” وسقوط “السياسة” يعرف محدودية خياراته، فهو الذي تراجع عن التهديد بالانسحاب من اتفاق تقاسم المناطق الاقتصادية مع لبنان وقال إنه سيكتفي بالتعامل معه كما تعامل مع اتفاق أوسلو، لن يجرؤ حتى على فعل ذلك، أي عدم التطبيق، لأنه يعلم العواقب، وهو أكثر من تجنّبها وسعى للواقعية في التعامل معها.
ــ نتنياهو العائد بعد الانتخابات يقرأ سقوط الكيان بصعود كتلة العقيدة الصهيونية والاستيطان، ومعها دعوات التطهير العرقي والتهجير والقتل التي يمثل ايتمار بن غفير نجمها الصاعد، فيقرر رغم إدراكه المواقف الأميركية والأوروبية ومعرفته بتداعيات تسليمه حقيبة الأمن الداخلي، على الأمن الداخلي نفسه، وعلى صورة “إسرائيل” في الخارج ومكانتها بين تشكيلات الرأي العام والمنظمات الحقوقية الغربية، يقدم على الخطوة لأنه يعترف بأن زمن “دولة إسرائيل” قد انتهى، وأن تسليم الراية لتيار المستوطنين والعقائديين، إما أن ينجح بإنتاج معادلة جديدة داخل فلسطين تعيد الفرصة لتوحيد الكيان تحت سقف القوة، وتعيد إنتاج مكانته الإقليمية مجدداً عبر هذه البوابة، اسوة بما حدث في ما يسمونه حرب الاستقلال عام 48، عبر تهجير الفلسطينيين وإقامة مذبحة مفتوحة بحقهم في القدس والضفة الغربية والأراضي المحتلة عام 48، أو تؤدي المخاطرة الى مزيد من الانهيار فتعيد الاعتبار للسياسة ومشروع “الدولة”، وفي الحالتين يكون نتنياهو أول من ينتظر لتلقف النتيجة.

ــ في فلسطين تبدأ مرحلة عنوانها لا صوت يعلو فوق صوت المعركة، ولا صوت إلا للرصاص، ومع بن غفير لا حاجة للفلسطينيين لسلطة محمود عباس وأجهزة أمنه وتنسيقها مع الاحتلال، بل هم يحتاجون فتح وقوات العاصفة وكتائب الأقصى إلى جانب فصائل المقاومة من القسام الى سرايا القدس وعرين الأسود، وكما فعل الدم الفلسطيني فعله في إسقاط الموجة الأولى من التطبيع ومنع الموجة الثانية، سوف يتكفل بإسقاط ما تبقى منها مع نفير المواجهة الذي يبدأ مع تولي بن غفير وزارة الأمن الداخلي، ومحور المقاومة الذي يدرك أن الأمن الوطني والقومي لقواه ودوله لا يمكن تأمينه خارج منطق الصراع مع كيان الاحتلال، يقف حكماً في الخندق ذاته مع شعب فلسطين وقواه المقاومة.

ON “HATE” AND LOVE AT THE WORLD CUP: PALESTINE IS MORE THAN AN ARAB CAUSE

DECEMBER 7TH, 2022

Source

Ramzy Baroud

We were mistaken to think that Palestine represents the central issue for all Arabs. Such language suggests that Palestine is an external subject to be compared to other collective struggles that consume most Arabs, everywhere. The ongoing celebration of Palestine and the Palestinian flag at the Qatar World Cup 2022 by millions of Arab fans compels us to rethink our earlier assumptions about the Arab people’s relationship with Palestine.

The starting point for my argument is Rome, Italy, not Doha, Qatar. In August 2021, I attended a friendly football match between Morocco’s Raja Casablanca and the Italian AS Roma. Thousands of Moroccan fans accompanied their team. Although fewer in number, their matching outfits, songs, chants and group dances in the stands made them more visible than the rest.

Although the environment of the game had little or no political context, the Moroccans sang for Palestine and wore Palestinian kuffiyas draped with the colors of the Palestinian flag. It was a heartwarming gesture, typical of Arab fans at football matches. As the fans began leaving the stadium in larger numbers, I realized that the very fan culture of Raja Casablanca was modeled entirely around Palestine. Their main slogan is Rajawi Filistini – Palestinian Rajawis, the words embroidered on their sports jerseys.

Considering the absence of political context to that specific match, clearly, the Moroccans did not see Palestine as a message to be communicated using sports as a platform but have internalized it to the extent that it became an integral part of their everyday reality. When I asked a group of Moroccan fans on why they embrace Palestinian symbols and chants, the question puzzled them. “Palestine is in our blood. The love for Palestine runs in our veins,” an older man answered, overcome with emotions.

Multiple studies have been conducted to gauge Arab public opinion in recent years about the importance of Palestine, most notably the Arab Opinion Index survey conducted by the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies in 2020. This poll found that 85 percent of respondents opposed normalization with Israel. Indeed, the Arab people remain clear in their allegiance to the Palestinian struggle for freedom. No Arab country deviated from this rule, from the Arabian Peninsula to North Africa.

The Qatar World Cup, however, raises new questions, not about the centrality of Palestine to Arab political consciousness, but whether the representations of Palestine are merely political and whether Palestine is just another ‘issue’ to be juxtaposed with other urgent Arab issues and causes.

Even the Israelis, with their much-touted intelligence agencies and a supposedly good grasp on the mood of the so-called ‘Arab street’, seemed confused and even angry as they rushed to Qatar to report on the World Cup, but also to use the international sports event as a way to translate diplomatic recognition and political normalizations into popular acceptance.

However, the two Israeli reporters, Raz Shechnik and Oz Mualem, returned to Israel disappointed. Failing to connect the dots between Israel’s apartheid and military occupation in Palestine, the Yedioth Ahronot journalists had reached this convenient conclusion: “Despite believing, as open-minded liberals we are, that the conflict with the Arab world is between governments and not the people, Qatar has taught us that hate exists first and foremost in the mind of the man on the street.”

Not only did the “open-minded liberals” lack any sense of self-awareness, they, like most Israelis, had completely dismissed the Arab people as political actors capable of thinking and behaving according to their own collective priorities. Moreover, they also confused the Arabs’ justifiable anger for the terrible injustices inflicted by Israelis on the Palestinians for random ‘hate’ that seems to simply reflect the supposed hateful nature of the Arabs.

If the two reporters reflected on their own reporting with a truly – not self-proclaimed – ‘open mind’, they would have found some clues. “Whenever we report, we are being followed at all times by Palestinians, Iranians, Qataris, Moroccans, Jordanians, Syrians, Egyptians and Lebanese … all giving us looks full of hate,” they wrote.

Considering the deep political divisions that presently exist among Arab nations, one wonders why ordinary people from vastly diverse Arab and Middle Eastern nations are united in ‘hating’ Israel and loving Palestine. The answer does not lie in the word ‘antisemitism’, but in representations.

For Arabs, Israel represents a history of western imperialism and colonialism, military occupation, racism, violence, political meddling, military interventions, wars and more wars, daily images of handsome Palestinian boys and girls killed by Israeli soldiers, violent Israeli Jewish settlers forcibly expelling Palestinians out of their homes and farms, political arrogance and much more.

Palestinians, on the other hand, represent something else entirely. They embody the unhealed wound of all Arabs. Courage and sacrifice. Refusal to surrender. Resistance. Hope.

Most Israelis are unable to grasp the organic relationship between Arabs and Palestine simply because they refuse to accept that their country summons such negative feelings. Contending with this reality would mean deep and uncomfortable reflections. The likes of Shechnik and Mualem would rather explain such a complex task through some convenient references to inexplicable and unjustifiable Arab ‘hate’ of Israel.

The Arab embrace of Palestine is not only about Israel but also about the Arabs themselves. Though the Palestinian flag was itself inspired by the pan-Arab flag of 1916, it has morphed, over the years, to serve the role of the unifying Arab symbol.

The fact that Arab football fans in Qatar have spontaneously chosen, without any official instructions or government intervention, to use the Palestinian flag as their symbol of unity speaks volumes about Palestine’s position in the collective Arab consciousness. It also tells us that the love for Palestine is not a direct outcome of hating Israel, nor is it that the Arabs view Palestine as a symbol of defeat or humiliation.

When Moroccan player Jawad El Yamiq celebrated his country’s national team’s victory over Canada on December 1, thus guaranteeing the advancement of Morocco to the knockout stages of the World Cup, he raised a Palestinian flag. In the background, Moroccan fans were chanting for Palestine and Morocco. For them, Palestine is not an external cause, and their cheers are not simply an act of solidarity. For them, Palestine and Morocco are synonymous, describing the same collective experience of defeat, struggle and, ultimately, victory.

At the World Cup, The Arab World Rallies to Palestinian Cause

December 7, 2022 

By Ishaan Tharoor | The Washington Post

In the aftermath of Morocco’s sensational victory over Spain, the triumphant Moroccan squad posed for a picture with a flag. It wasn’t their own green star-on-crimson banner, nor the flag of Algeria, Tunisia or Lebanon, all of which flapped in the stands in a reflection of the Pan-Arab solidarity that has coursed through the first World Cup in the Middle East. Instead, the Moroccans waved the flag of Palestine, an explicit echo of support for a cause that has suffused the whole tournament. At the match on Tuesday evening, Palestinian emblems were everywhere, draped across people’s shoulders, on scarves, on T-shirts.

Outside the stadium beforehand, I met Mona Allaoui, a resident of Rabat, the Moroccan capital, who wore a Palestinian kaffiyeh over her Moroccan national team shirt. “I don’t care about politics,” she said, by which she meant the political normalization agreements, known as the Abraham Accords, signed between her nation’s leaders and ‘Israel’ in 2020. “I support the Palestinians because I’m a human being and they are our brothers and sisters.”

At a tournament bombarded from all fronts by political concerns, the cause of Palestine is a kind of leitmotif… The Palestinian flag has been ubiquitous at the World Cup’s stadiums, no matter which teams are playing. Banners calling for a “Free Palestine” were raised in the stands of at least one game, while a protester at a match involving Tunisia invaded the pitch waving a Palestinian flag. During games, fans from Arab nations have chanted for Palestinian rights and against recent killings of Palestinians by ‘Israeli’ forces. They did so again Tuesday.

Interactions between ‘Israeli’ journalists — invited to Qatar for the World Cup despite the absence of formal relations between both sides — and various fans they came across in Doha, Qatar, underscored the prevalence of the issue. Videos that proliferated on social media showed bemused or startled ‘Israeli’ reporters being berated by passersby. In one encounter with Moroccan fans who walk away shouting “Palestine,” Raz Shechnik of ‘Israel’s’ Yediot Aharonot beseeched them: “But you signed ‘peace’!”

The Abraham Accords, forged by the Trump administration, paved the way for the normalization of ties between ‘Israel’ and four Arab states — the three monarchies of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, as well as Sudan. It was hailed as a major regional breakthrough and a mark of a shifting political order in the Middle East, with certain Arab powers losing interest in the entrenched struggle over Palestinian dispossession and more animated by other priorities. This week, ‘Israeli’ President Isaac Herzog called on the royals of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in what were billed as ‘landmark visits.’

The World Cup, though, has showed how small the vision of that supposed ‘peace’ is. In recent months, there has been plenty of chatter in Washington about how ‘Israeli’ officials and business executives have become a common sight in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and even in Riyadh [the Saudis have yet to normalize relations with ‘Israel,’ though there’s a depth of connections]. But what goes often unsaid in the US and ‘Israeli’ conversation about these normalization deals is the extent to which they only reflect top-level elite interests in the region.

‘Israelis’ in Qatar reckoned with that reality. “There are a lot of attempts by many people here, from all around the Arab world, to come out against us because we represent normalization,” Ohad Hemo, a reporter for ‘Israel’s’ Channel 12, told his network. “‘Israelis’’ wish came true, we signed ‘peace’ agreements with four Arab states, but there are also the people, and many of them don’t like our presence here.”

Some ‘Israeli’ commentators saw the backlash as evidence of enduring anti-‘Israeli’ sentiment in the region. “This isn’t a knock on the Abraham Accords, or even on ‘peace’ with Jordan and Egypt,” wrote Lahav Harkov of the Jerusalem Post. “They are all significant and all brought positive results for ‘Israel’ and for those countries. But it’s also a wake-up call about the limitations of those agreements.”

Recent polling shows that overwhelming majorities of ordinary citizens in many Arab countries, including those that participated in the Abraham Accords, disapprove of formalizing ties with ‘Israel.’ “There is clearly not much love in the Arab world for ‘Israel,’” wrote Giorgio Cafiero, CEO of Gulf State Analytics, a Washington-based risk consultancy that focuses on the region. “The decades of humiliation, resentment, and anger which many Arabs feel toward ‘Israel’ cannot simply vanish with the signing of such normalization agreements.”

Still key for millions of people in the Arab world, their governments aside, is the political condition of Palestinians, millions of whom live lives circumscribed by ‘Israel’s’ security interests, shorn of the same rights afforded to the ‘Israelis’ around them. For years, most Arab governments conditioned normalization with ‘Israel’ on the advent of a separate Palestinian state. But the process to create that state has effectively collapsed, while ‘Israel’s’ new far-right government contains numerous politicians who oppose any scenarios in which Palestinian statehood could ever be viable.

“Ordinary Arabs are against this occupation and see it as inhuman and unacceptable,” said Mahjoob Zweiri, a professor of history and contemporary politics at Qatar University.

Zweiri said the political tenor of the tournament in Qatar has offered a clear message not just to the United States and ‘Israel,’ but to Arab governments that also seem intent on obscuring the political priorities of Palestinians. The presence of Palestinian flags at stadiums was “not organized by states, but something genuine from within the people themselves,” he said. “The World Cup is about ordinary people, it’s about middle-class people. It’s not about the elite.”

“They can talk about normalization about 100 years, but they cannot impose it,” Zweiri said.

That’s a view recognized by some in ‘Israel.’ “After the Abraham Accords were signed with several Arab countries in 2020, rightist pundits claimed that the Palestinians’ fate no longer interests other Arabs,” wrote Uzi Baram in left-leaning ‘Israeli’ newspaper Haaretz. “They didn’t bother to read the article in the agreement stating that their fulfillment requires establishing a Palestinian state. As for the symbiosis between the Palestinians and other Arab nations, no further proof seems needed following the World Cup in Qatar.”

Aladdin Awwad, 42, a Palestinian cybersecurity specialist who works in Doha, was at Morocco’s victory over Spain. His brother had draped a Palestinian flag over the Morocco jersey he was wearing.

“It’s great to see all these Arab nationalities support our cause and show the West that Palestine will not die,” Awwad told me. “We are not here to create problems. We are not against peace. But we exist and we are here.”

Israelis Are Not Welcome in Qatar During the 2022 World Cup

November 30, 2022

Source

Steven Sahiounie

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been the first of its kind and may be a breakthrough in calling out Israel and its apartheid regime, Steven Sahiounie writes.

Israeli citizens and journalists are allowed in Qatar in a FIFA agreement during the 2022 World Cup now underway in Doha. Being allowed to enter a country to watch football, or to cover an event as a journalist or media crew, is far different than being welcome.

Israeli journalists have reported numerous interactions with football fans and locals in Qatar that let them know they are not welcome because they are from Israel.

Moav Vardi, Israeli channel KAN 11, was told by a football fan on live TV from Doha, “It is Palestine, there is no Israel. Go, please. You are not welcome here. This is Qatar, this is our country – you are not welcome here. There is only Palestine. There is no Israel.”

Eli Ohana, also from KAN, got a ride in a golf cart with a Qatari policeman. During the conversation, Ohana revealed he was from Israel. The Qatari was shocked and thought he must be joking. Ohana quickly denied his citizenship and instead passed himself off as Portuguese. The policeman replied, “If you were really from Israel, I would have dropped you here and turned back.”

Raz Shechnik, a Yedioth Ahronoth reporter, said “We feel hated. We feel the hostility and we feel unwelcome,” and he recalled a seemingly friendly Qatari who offered, “I would like to say welcome to you. But you are really not blessed. Fly away from here as fast as possible.”

Even an Egyptian fan badgered Shechnik after recognizing him as Israeli after falsely claiming he was from Ecuador. Regardless of the three-decade peace treaty between the two countries, the Egyptian continued to insist, on “Free Palestine.”

Ohad Hamo, Israeli channel 12, was conducting live interviews of fans in Doha but was refused by all Arab fans. After being frustrated, he said, “I don’t know why?”

If an Israeli does not know why Arab fans would be hostile and unwelcoming of an Israeli in Qatar, then that demonstrates the lack of understanding and responsibility of keeping five million persons in an open-air prison.

President Trump successfully promoted the Abraham Accords in 2020 which saw normalization agreements between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. Ohana said recently in Doha, “Israel has signed normalization agreements with 4 Arab countries in recent years, but it turned out that the majority of Arab peoples do not like the fact that we are here.”

Egypt and Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel three decades ago, and it has been a successful and enduring example of peace between Arabs and Muslims with the Jewish State of Israel.

Peace treaties and normalization agreements are performed by governments, and not the citizens. Egyptian and Jordanian citizens have gotten used to the shared embassies, business dealings, and tourism. However, most citizens hold the opinion that Israel is a brutal occupier in Palestine and that Palestinians are living under an apartheid regime without basic human rights.

Palestinian flags are flying all over Doha and fans are also holding the flags. This was sure to be a surprise to Israeli journalists because the flag is banned from being displayed in public anywhere in Israel or the occupied West Bank. The journalists also reported unwelcoming comments from restaurants and taxi drivers.

Israelis should not be surprised to find negative comments directed at them when in an Arab country, even in Jordan and Egypt. The Arab world is 22 nations that all speak Arabic and have some shared culture. The Arabs in general are highly informed on their history and the injustices surrounding the founding of Israel. The desperate plight of the Palestinian people is part of their culture and awareness.

Officially, Qatar does not have any normalization agreement with Israel and is a very strong supporter of Palestinian rights and the need for a Palestinian state, which is not on the agenda with the current Israeli government. The recent elections have seen Benjamin Netanyahu return to power with the help of an allied extremist party that is opposed to giving any human rights to Palestinians.

Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist for the Qatari-supported media Al Jazeera, was assassinated in May by an Israeli Army sniper in Jenin in the occupied West Bank. The Israeli government admits that she was killed by an Israeli soldier, but claims it was an accidental shooting. An independent investigation revealed she was not in the crossfire of any battle, but instead was solely targeted and murdered while wearing full identification that she was the “PRESS”. The FBI had wanted to open an investigation into the killing, but the Israeli government refused the request, even though the Israeli government depends on the U.S. to financially survive. Israel has received from the U.S. taxpayers, as of May 2021, $146 Billion, more than any other country.

On November 17, Al Jazeera aired a segment on its “The Stream” broadcast. Interviewed were filmmaker Dena Takruri, a Palestinian American journalist with Al Jazeera, her cameraman, and an Israeli representative of the Israeli NGO “Breaking the Silence”, a group of Israeli veterans who have served in the occupied territory and seeking to inform the Israeli public about the true situation there. He explained that Israeli citizens are indoctrinated all their lives to never question why there is no end to the occupation. Further, he said there is no incentive for Israel to end the occupation, therefore it may last forever. Takruri has made a new film called, ‘How Israeli Apartheid Destroyed my Hometown’ which documents how 30,000 Palestinians live there in almost concentration camp conditions. They are surrounded by illegal Israeli settlers who throw rocks, garbage, and even urine at the Palestinians, who are prohibited from walking out of their front door onto the main street, and instead must exit home from a secretive back exit.

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been the first of its kind and may be a breakthrough in calling out Israel and its apartheid regime. The Israeli journalists and fans in Doha will be uncomfortable after the unwelcoming reception there, but it will be food for thought and a chance for the Israeli public to finally question, “Why?”

Qatar World Cup Came to Clarify that Normalization with ‘Israel’ is Only Governments, Not Peoples’ Affair!

November 28, 2022

By Mohammad Youssef

The Qatar World Cup has unfolded so many events and revealed new facts the most important of which is that Palestine and the Palestinian cause still occupy a central place in the consciousness of the Arab community.

All the shameful official normalization deals with the ‘Israeli’ enemy and all the attempts by some Arab governments to normalize the relations between their people and the enemy have very clearly proved their futility. The reactions from the different standoffs said one truth that ‘Israel’ can never be accepted as a normal part of the region, and it will always be rejected by all Arab and Muslim people.

Journalists, reporters and media personnel who work in the different ‘Israeli’ media outlets have repeatedly revealed a very strong fact about how much they are detested and rejected the moment Arab people discover their ‘Israeli’ identity. The people would directly voice out their anger and refuse their presence in Qatar.

This kind of reaction would directly tell the ‘Israelis’ and the governments how much Arab people are attached to Palestine and the depth of their faith in it.

In one instance, an ‘Israeli’ reporter would start a conversation with one of the attendees at the Qatar World Cup, the moment this participant discovers he is an ‘Israeli’ he would directly cut the conversation and refuse talking to him.

In another instance, the ‘Israeli’ reporter covering the events would reveal his identity and the audiences there tell him directly there is no such thing as ‘Israel,’ we call this country Palestine.

In a third occasion, a crowd of the participants attending the World Cup would tell one of the ‘Israelis’ in the face you are not welcome here.

This thread of events and many others have made the ‘Israelis’ feel frustrated and report to their government that would in its turn report to the Qatari authorities to convey its disappointment and claims about the mistreatment of the ‘Israelis’ during the World Cup events.

Of course, neither Qatar, nor any other Arab government is capable of controlling the feeling of the people and the impulse of the Arab crowds. They represent a true and genuine reflection of their understanding to the ‘Israeli’ entity.

What is so strange actually about all of this is the shock manifested by the ‘Israelis’ themselves as if this happens as a surprise, though they should know already that all the years that passed after their agreement with both the Egyptian and Jordanian political systems did not bring them any inch closer to be accepted by both streets whether in Cairo or Amman.

‘Israel’ will never be accepted by the Arabs and Muslims and all its agreements and treaties with a government here or there will not help make it a normal part of the region.

As long as our mothers and fathers teach us that this part of the world has always been and will continue to be Palestine and not any other country or entity, and as long as the successive Palestinian generations continue to sacrifice for the full liberation of Palestine from the rivers to the sea, then the victory will definitely come.

The normalization story is behind us. To be more precise, it is under our feet in all the Arab streets. Governments take note of that!

‘Israel’ urges settlers to downplay ‘identity’ at Qatar World Cup

2022/11/28 

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Israeli media urges illegal Israeli settlers in the Qatar World Cup to be less visibly Israeli, after being shunned by fans around the world.

Israeli media reported that the occupation’s government urged Israelis attending the World Cup tournament in Qatar “to be less visibly Israeli”. 

The Israeli occupation pressed Israelis to keep a low profile, most notably hiding Israeli symbols — in reference to “Israeli flags and Stars of David”.

While Israeli officials voiced hope that “a positive, hassle-free Israeli presence in Qatar could advance “Israel’s” ambitions to further integrate into the region after the normalization deals,” as per Israeli media, the situation on the ground dashed their hopes, as football fans from all around the world have been snubbing Israeli journalists in the country.

Israeli journalists failed to interview World Cup fans, most notably Arabs, despite exerting strained efforts, illustrating that the normalization deals inked by four Arab countries with the Israeli occupation don’t convey the sentiments of their nationals.

Meanwhile, fans around the world also shunned Israeli journalists in protest against the brutal human rights violations “Israel” commits against Palestinians.

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

Israeli Channel 12’s reporter hinted that Israeli authorities are “concerned about what is happening with the Israelis in Qatar.” In response, Channel 12‘s Nir Dvori backed the occupation’s request that Israelis conceal their “identity”.

Occupation media also revealed that “the occupation authorities protested against the treatment of Israelis in Qatar.”

“The Qatar World Cup has brought ‘Israel’ face to face with an unpleasant truth and harsh reality that is extremely painful for Israelis, as for the first time all those Israelis who to date have been so enthusiastic about the Arab or Persian Gulf, have now had their first bitter taste of the rejection, disregard, and refusal to accept Israelis in an Arab Muslim state,” according to an article in the Israeli newspaper “Israel Hayom” titled “Qatar World Cup shows ‘Israel’ is still hated.”

“All those who claim that the inhabitants of the Gulf states harbor no ill will toward the ‘State of Israel’, have now seen their theory shot to pieces and have woken up to an entirely different reality,” it added.

Related Stories

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. 

Related Stories

Iran to Grab the Initiative in the “Combined War”

November 26, 2022 

By Ali Abadi

Have the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran begun to regain the initiative in the “combined war” that was imposed on them? What is the horizon for the next stage in dealing with the emerging internal-external challenge?

When Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei indicated in a speech to a gathering of school students earlier this month that the enemy had a “plan” behind igniting the “combined war” currently targeting Iran, His Eminence was recalling the information contained in a joint statement of the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards on October 28. The statement included data, most notably:

  • The involvement of the CIA and the British, “Israeli” and Saudi intelligence in the disturbances within the “plan to destroy Iran”. The planning and practical implementation of the bulk of the riots was carried out by the Mossad.
  • Smuggling military and espionage equipment for subversive networks into Iran.
  • The CIA organized training courses for some of its Iranian agents, including “N.H.” who took the first photo of the late Mahsa Amini while she was in the hospital.
  • Setting American institutes for riots several months before they occurred, as they ordered their agents to abuse sanctities, burn the Holy Quran and mosques, and target security forces and clerics.

The decline of “protests” and the progress of assassinations

About two months after the outbreak of the protests, it can be said that their course is taking a downward turn based on several indicators. The first chapter of it, which is to stir people up and push them to the street, has exhausted its energy, even if it has not completely ended yet. Now it is mainly dependent on armed groups carrying out assassination attacks against security personnel. Over the past few days, these groups carried out attacks that led to the killing of security officers who were working to control the situation and interview some people on the street [in Mashhad, Isfahan, Kurdistan, Khuzestan, and Baluchistan]. It seems that the aim of these attacks is to escalate the situation again in the street by provoking the security forces to draw them into a reaction that sheds more blood.

The shootings took place in provinces where the activities of separatist armed groups are concentrated, such as Khuzestan, Baluchistan, Kurdistan and West Azerbaijan, and incidents took place in other regions [Isfahan, Tehran, Mashhad] to give the impression that all of Iran is a hotspot. However, the movements remain limited in comparison to the vastness of Iran, and the number of participants in each movement in the street is in the hundreds at best.

In a preliminary reading, it appears that the security services are acting according to a plan that takes into account the following objectives:

  • Luring: Detecting riot groups and their organizers by giving them an opportunity to go out in public, as what happened in the past weeks, when a large number of people were arrested based on what was captured from cameras, drones and information of informants on the ground.
  • Gaining public opinion: To allow people who were affected by the demands raised by the rioters to see the truth about these people through their practices and to reveal the fall of a large number of security personnel during the protests at the hands of armed and rioting groups. It is worth noting here that the climate in which these disturbances were born affected some of the political elites in the country who did not take a position on what was happening, which the Iranian president referred to as “a clouding of the minds of the elite”. This reveals a loophole similar to what happened in Lebanon after October 17, 2019, where some figured had been affected by the propaganda atmosphere on social media and foreign media. This imposes a tax on solution that has a greater political and security cost.
  • Reducing casualties among people during security measures on the ground to prevent the enemy from benefiting from any mistakes that might contribute to the siding of bewildered Iranians to the rioters against public order. This may lead to losses and sacrifices among the officers of the security forces, but this price remains small given the goal of not harming the largest number of people.

The Iranian security services were able to defuse the tension in some areas after opening dialogues with many social elites, as many people who were concerned about the safety of their regions and countries confirmed that the issue was not related to specific demands, but rather to dragging the country into an open confrontation with dangerous consequences.

In parallel, the security services are carrying out local operations to dismantle many cells responsible for killing people and security personnel and arresting their members, which is expected to lead to the dispersion of these groups and the scattering of their efforts and ability to communicate. And the security services show that they have accurate information about the people involved, based on technical tracking and relying on surveillance cameras and drones that play a role in monitoring movements on the ground.

In his speech to a delegation from the people of Isfahan a couple of days ago, Imam Khamenei drew attention to two points: the first is reassuring, in which he said that the current events will be accommodated and that “rioters and those behind them are too despicable to be able to harm the regime”. The second is that the people respond to these practices with greater awareness through massive participation in the funeral ceremonies of security personnel who are killed by the enemy. This last observation was tested and seen clearly in the funerals of martyrs who died in different provinces, and this would “turn the threat into an opportunity” to mobilize the people in the face of the enemy’s plans.

Direct US Intervention

Also, within the combined war, there are direct interventions led by the United States to add fuel to the fire and encourage the continuation of the unrest through:

  • Statements by American and European political leaders criticizing what they call “violations against protesters in Iran”, in an unbalanced view that reflects a strategy pursued to undermine the Islamic Republic’s government.
  • The mobilization of the media and the use of the capabilities of social media platforms in order to undermine Islamic values and transform the current problem into a position on the Islamic identity of Iranian society [the hijab, turban, flag of the Islamic Republic, pictures of martyrs, various religious symbols]. This malicious endeavor is being carried out by some idiots who see the West as their reference, and not the broad masses of the Iranian people who are proud of their religious values.
  • Imposing commercial sanctions on Iranian companies and others on Iranian media personalities, particularly on state television, which broadcasts video clips of confessions of those arrested in the assassination crimes.
  • Pressure through the United Nations General Assembly, where Western countries pushed for a session that voted to condemn Iran regarding alleged “violations” of human rights, noting that the number of countries that supported the resolution [78 votes] represents less than half of the number of countries that participated in the session [178 countries], where the rest preferred to abstain [69 countries], and a smaller number dared to refuse to condemn [31 countries]. This comes at a time when the US State Department exempted the Saudi Crown Prince from prosecution in a case brought before US courts in the case of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in exchange for US commercial interests.
  • Pressure through the United Nations Human Rights Council as well, as it will meet within days to vote on a project directed against Iran, after it was prepared in a text proposed by Western countries.
  • Pressure in the United Nations Women’s Committee “to get Iran out of the committee,” as US Vice President Kamala Harris pledged.
  • Pressure through the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] by holding a meeting condemning Iran for “not cooperating with the agency in the investigation of uranium enrichment activities”, without regard to the steps presented by Tehran in this context, including the signing of the Additional Cooperation Protocol. Washington hopes, in coordination with its partners, to bring Iran’s file to the Security Council, claiming that it poses a threat to international peace and security. This claim is not approved by several countries, including Russia and China, which indicates that the ultimate US goal is to defame Iran and harm its reputation and credibility in international forums, in preparation for its isolation, to prevent it from achieving great gains in the event that an agreement regarding the nuclear file was reached later.

Thus, the US administration proves that it uses the United Nations with all its bodies to implement its own agenda aimed at subjugating Iran and achieving what it failed to achieve in the Vienna meetings. It is concretely confirmed that the Biden and Trump administrations are two sides of the same coin, as the current administration completes the investment in what its predecessor began in terms of the strict blockade against the Islamic Republic.

There remains a final sign: Iranian media reported that Iran had informed Qatar that it would not respond during the period of the World Cup hosted by Doha to external parties that planned and organized interference in its internal affairs, in response to Qatar’s positive position of not cooperating with the efforts aimed at preventing the participation of Iran’s national team in the event. And if this is true – and it appears that it is according to some evidence – then this means that the authorities of the Islamic Republic will take advantage of the period of the Qatar World Cup in order to rearrange the internal security situation, after which it will devote itself to dealing with the sources of the external threat.

Imam Khamenei: The Islamic Revolution Is Alive Despite the Enemies’ Will

 November 26, 2022

By Al-Ahed News

Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei underlined that in every era, the presence of the Basij [mobilization] forces emphasized that the Islamic Revolution is still reviving, pointing to that in Iran there are millions of officially-registered Basji members, in addition to the other unregistered millions, who are all active in the Iranian society.

Imam Khamenei made the remarks on Saturday morning as he received massive numbers of Basij members at the Imam Khomeini Hussainiyah in Tehran marking the Basij Week. Additionally, five million Basij members from all over Iran took part in this meeting through videoconference participation.

His Eminence noted that the mobilization is one of the blessed innovations of our prominent Imam Khomeini, explaining that in such days, and nine years after the formation of the mobilization forces, the late Imam gave his sublime speech praising the Basij, in which he said “it is the center of passion and the unknown martyrs, and a fruitful tree.”

“It is my honor and pride that I belong to those Basij members,” Imam Khamenei said.

The Basij is not just a fighting institution, it is more sublime and has to do with the cultural, rhetorical, and ideological mobilization… this culture is the pure service of the nation and its people, Sayyed Ali Khamenei went on to say.

Highlighting the importance of the Basij culture, Imam Khamenei explained that it is to dig in mud to support the flood-hit households, and to be at the forefront in fighting the pandemic and to possibly die to save the lives of the patients; the Basij culture is not to be tired while supporting the believers, and without expecting praise for doing so.

“The Basij forces are daring, don’t fear the enemy, and don’t give it a chance to move on. They also have the potential and capabilities to keep up with every step of the Revolution,” Imam Khamenei also noted.

“In every era, the presence of the Basij forces emphasized that the Revolution is still reviving; the Revolution is alive despite the will of the enemies who can’t withstand this word.”

Imam Khamenei highlighted that during the latest attacks across Iran, the Basij members put themselves in danger to prevent people from facing oppression, adding that those forces have a prominent position within the Muslim world.

With respect to the conspiracy against Iran, Imam Khamenei pointed to the great importance of the Islamic Republic for its huge resources and its geographical position between the East and the West. This is why the colonial front has been working against it, His Eminence explained, adding that the Zionist entity has been implanted as a camp for Europe and the US, and they made it dominant in the Middle East.

“When the Islamic Revolution in Iran emerged victorious, it twisted all of the West’s the balances and calculations… it is a phenomenon that dealt the arrogant powers a major blow and left them shocked and lost. The West worked to overthrow the revolutionary government in Iran and to eliminate it, and this is why they imposed the 8-year war, but Saddam Hussein failed in this war and they understood that they cannot confront Iran,” His Eminence also noted.

Meanwhile, the West tended to target the countries that have ties with Iran, in which it admitted to operating in six countries that are Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan and Somalia; however, Iran’s role in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon contributed to foiling the US scheme to target the Islamic Republic through those countries.

“Martyr Qassem Soleimani played the most prominent role in Iran’s victory against the US scheme in the region,” Imam Khamenei mentioned, making sure to underscore the Basij forces’ role in confronting the terrorist group Daesh, which was formed by the enemies and attacked the holy shrines.

On the nuclear talks, Imam Khamenei said the enemy wants the nuclear deal to prevent Iran from producing weapons and drones to defend itself. Additionally, a group of the unwary individuals at home repeat the words of the enemies, which aim at weakening Iran.

As His Eminence highlighted the importance of confronting every rioter at home, he warned that the scale of the battle is much wider, advising the Basij members not to forget that our main and true confrontation is against the global arrogance.

Imam Khamenei felt sorry for some of what can be read in newspapers and on social media platforms, which consider that we must solve the problem with the US to stop the riot. When we committed to our obligations according to the nuclear deal, the US didn’t, His Eminence said, adding that our problem with the US could not be solved through negotiations, and Washington doesn’t accept but obtaining one privilege after the other.

Who is the Iranian citizen who is keen on his nation but is ready to compromise to the US on Iran’s power? Imam Khamenei asked. “The enemies’ media outlets publish lies and fake news whose content is misleading.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, Imam Khamenei praised the members of Iran’s national team who have pleased the country by clinching their first victory on Friday during a World Cup match.

“The enemies attempt to infiltrate through our forces,” Imam Khamenei told the Basji members, advising them to beware in this regard.

The positions of the Iranian Leader of the Islamic Revolution in front of Basij

The BBC’s abysmal coverage of Qatar’s World Cup

The British state-owned broadcaster’s refusal to show Qatar’s Opening Ceremony reeks of hypocrisy

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Omar Ahmed

November 21 2022

The FIFA World Cup held in Qatar is probably going to be the worst in the 92-year history of the tournament, but not for the reasons most are thinking.

Aside from the fact that it is being held for the first time in winter due to the soaring summer temperatures of the Persian Gulf – and apart from the many off-field controversies surrounding the event – this year’s World Cup has kicked off with shockingly biased coverage by the BBC.

The choice of Qatar to host the prestigious global football tournament was always going to be one steeped in controversy – a West Asian Muslim nation, for one, had never snagged a prize this big, and of such global significance.

So from the onset, bribery scandals implicating the Qataris with the corrupt-prone FIFA organization ran rife. True or not, to date there exists no hard evidence linking Qatar and its successful bid to host the World Cup.

The first World Cup in West Asia

Then there was the cultural aspect: a conservative, Arab, Asian, Muslim-majority emirate was deemed unworthy of hosting the world’s most important football event. The biases run deep: consider, for instance, that this World Cup is only the second ever to be hosted in Asia – the world’s biggest continent – after Japan-South Korea co-hosted in 2002.

Alcohol and football spectating often go hand in hand, and the Qataris have already made headlines by announcing two days before the tournament a ban on the sale of alcohol inside stadiums. This, despite a contractual agreement between FIFA and US beer giant Budweiser, which enjoyed exclusive official sponsor rights to sell its drinks at the World Cup.

However, these issues can and have by and large been overlooked by most football fans and the media. The elephant in the room, has always been the issue of Qatari human rights and whether it is therefore “unfit” to host the world’s greatest sporting event, after the Olympics.

These pressing issues, so championed by the liberal west, include democracy, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and the plight and treatment of migrant workers – most of these from South Asia. Yet while some of the charges are valid talking points, they are accompanied by an all too familiar feeling of western double standards.

The BBC snubs the Opening Ceremony

The BBC, which has built a global reputation for its renowned football coverage throughout the decades – including many memorable World Cups – has let itself down immensely over its refusal to air Qatar 2022’s Opening Ceremony.

The opening show, after all, is every host nation’s chance to introduce itself to the rest of the world and put on a dazzling and meaningful display of its heritage, culture, and a means to project its soft power. Yet millions of television viewers in the UK were deprived of witnessing the spectacle Qatar had painstakingly organized. This was British petulance and pettiness on display for all the world to see.

From the very outset, BBC presenter and former footballer Gary Lineker set a scathing tone with a disclaimer-like segment prior to the program. “It’s the most controversial World Cup in history and a ball hasn’t even been kicked,” he said before listing the aforementioned controversies.

“Against that backdrop, there’s a tournament to be played – one that will be watched and enjoyed around the world. Stick to football, say FIFA. Well, we will – for a couple of minutes at least.”

He wasn’t joking either. For a good 20 minutes, the show intended to display the opening ceremony of the first World Cup in West Asia, was instead an insufferable bore of virtue-signaling by the BBC and its panel of pundits.

Online backlash against the BBC

Naturally, this deviation from the main subject was picked up on social media by both popular, verified users, and average football fans, alike. The people tuned into the BBC, not only for the opening ceremony, but you guessed it – for football.

British media personality Piers Morgan was among those who slammed the BBC over its “outrageously disrespectful” coverage for not broadcasting the opening ceremony and playing petty politics. “If they’re that appalled, they should bring home their vast army of (British) employees & spare us this absurd hypocrisy,” he added.

These sentiments were echoed across Twitter, with many users describing the BBC’s coverage as a “disgrace.” Others pointed out the blatant hypocrisy of the pundits, who despite criticizing the Qataris and essentially boycotting the opening ceremony, still will be getting paid to film the month-long spectacle in the country.

Selective moral outrage

What has been remarkable, though, has been the incessant moral outrage that has emerged in the build-up to this competition – noticeably absent not only in all previous World Cups, but also interestingly enough, in the last tournament which was hosted in Russia – the villain of the hour, and Europe’s current security bogeyman.

That 2018 World Cup opening ceremony was neither snubbed, nor were LGBT rights or any other human rights issues invoked. Remember that this was four years after the annexation of Crimea – a prelude to the current, on-going Russian military operation in Ukraine.

At the time, the BBC’s coverage proceeded as normal, despite publicized accusations of “sports washing.” Likewise, the BBC had no qualms about broadcasting the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, in spite of (unsubstantiated) western claims of a Uyghur genocide.

So why has Qatar been singled out? Some observers have pointed to Islamophobia, which truth be told, may be a far too simplistic assumption, although there has definitely been obvious cases of this in certain western media coverage. What is true is that Arabs and Muslims remain pretty much the only global demographic left against which racist and ethnic bashing are not only allowed, but roundly applauded.

Linekar’s fellow pundits include female ex-footballer Alex Scott who tried to defend her presence in Qatar despite criticizing the country’s human rights record, “Because I love my job,” she argued – which she justified by having these “harder conversations.”

“You think about four years ago, I was the first female pundit for the BBC at a World Cup. You think about how far we’ve moved in four years.” Interestingly enough, not only did she share her commentary in the last World Cup in Russia, but she was also seen pictured with President Vladimir Putin. Clearly “human rights” were of no concern to her back then.

Former footballer Alan Shearer’s moral outrage against Qatar is also ironic, given that he is a vocal proponent of Saudi Arabia’s takeover of his beloved hometown club, Newcastle United. The Saudis, after all, practically wrote the textbook on repression and rights violations. Why hasn’t he opposed lucrative Saudi investment in the Magpies?

Perhaps feeling compelled to address the Saudi acquisition while discussing the World Cup in Qatar, Shearer did say: “Do I love the impact that it has had on Newcastle? Absolutely. Newcastle are buzzing and playing some great football.”

“Also, do I think that the Saudis and other countries should be held to account over human rights? Absolutely yes.”

What about the next FIFA World Cup?

The virtue signaling we are witnessing will likely continue to be throughout the rest of the World Cup. The BBC have already taken the unprecedented step of placing politics at the forefront of their sports coverage.

In terms of consistency, then, it will be interesting to see where they go with the next FIFA World Cup to be jointly hosted by the US, Canada, and Mexico. Will the BBC snub the opening ceremony to protest rampant US police brutality, its dismal human rights record, its illegal wars, arms sales to despotic regimes, or its on-going theft of Syrian oil?

How about Canada’s arms trade with Saudi Arabia which contributes directly to the devastating war in Yemen where tens of thousands have died and millions are on the verge of starvation? And let’s not forget the narco-state that has emerged in Mexico, where kidnapping and capital crimes now rule the streets, with little pushback from the government.

Of course, the British government’s mouthpiece will have no objections with those host nations. No, the BBC will not spare even a second to point out those deadly crimes that affect tens of millions more people than whatever-Qatar-did-wrong.

Ultimately, for football fans around the world who eagerly waited four long years for this tournament, it won’t be hard to watch this Qatari World Cup. It will only be hard to watch it on the BBC.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

We are all Palestinian’: Fans Show Solidarity with Palestine ahead of World Cup in Qatar (VIDEOS)

November 20, 2022

Fans show solidarity with Palestine ahead of the World Cup in Qatar. (Photo: via WAFA)

Hundreds of football fans converged on Qatar’s Lusail City on Saturday waving Palestinian flags ahead of the start of the World Cup, The New Arab reported.

The event was organized by the Qatar Youth Against Normalization group, bringing together locals and fans who had traveled to the Gulf state for the games.

Videos posted to social media showed a carnival atmosphere in Lusail City, with fans waving Palestinian flags, wearing the Palestinian keffiyeh, and doing the dabke dance to show solidarity with the Palestinian people.

“The people of Algeria love Palestine, victory [for the Palestinians] God willing,” said one Algerian fan.

Additionally, videos of the fans singing and dancing together were shared on social media under the hashtag #raisepalestineflag.

“We love Palestine, long live Palestine!” said one Tunisian fan.

“Free Palestina, Vamos Palestina!” said an Argentinian fan, who had joined the scores of other football fans in Lusail.

The event came hours after Qatari Assistant Foreign Minister Lulwah Al-Khater expressed solidarity with the Palestinians at a press conference on the eve of the tournament.
“We expect to celebrate [the World Cup] with thousands of our brothers and sisters from Palestine and we affirm here that their cause and our just cause in Palestine will always remain present in our conscience,” she said.
The 2022 World Cup is set to kick off in Doha on Sunday evening and is the first time an Arab country has hosted football’s top international tournament.
(The New Arab, PC, SOCIAL)

‘Palestinians in Gaza Enjoy First Match of the World Cup (PHOTOS)

Palestinians in Gaza enjoyed the first match of the World Cup between Qatar and Ecuador. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Palestinians in Gaza enjoyed the first match of the World Cup between Qatar and Ecuador, which ended in Ecuador’s 2-0 victory.

The Palestinian fans raised flags of Morocco, Qatar, Tunisia, and other Arab teams participating in the World Cup, along with Palestinian flags.

This is the first time the World Cup has been held in an Arab country.

(All Photos: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

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