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Israel appeals to FIFA, UN for cellular access in Qatar with Israeli SIMS

November 8, 2022 at 4:21 pm

A view of Khalifa International Stadium hosting the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in Doha, Qatar on September 29, 2022 [Mohammed Dabbous/Anadolu Agency]

Israel has submitted a request to FIFA and officials of the International Telecommunication Union of the United Nations (UN) for cellular access in Qatar.

According to the Israeli public broadcaster, Kan 11, Israel is attempting to enable its citizens to use Qatar’s cellular networks with its original SIM cards.

Israeli Communications Minister, Yoaz Hendel, issued a letter to the President of FIFA and the UN, seeking assistance in communicating with cellular companies in Qatar, which refuse to cooperate with Israeli cellular companies.

He wrote, “We want your help in ensuring the host country’s cooperation with all countries, especially since the talk is about international competitions.”

Israeli fans travelling to Qatar are currently required to purchase new cellular SIM cards from companies there, in order to be able to connect to cellular networks in Qatar.

READ: 30,000 Israelis to travel to Qatar for World Cup

Israel reached a deal with FIFA in June to allow Israelis to purchase tickets for the tournament and enter Qatar, making it the first time that Israelis will be allowed into the country without using a non-Israeli passport.

Its commitments to FIFA mean that Qatar is obliged to give the same treatment to all countries, without omitting any names or flags. Qatar World Cup officials have repeatedly said that all nationalities are welcome during the tournament. All football fans holding tickets for matches must apply for the Hayya card, a form of fan identification document, which doubles as their entry visa to Qatar.

Unlike its Gulf Arab neighbours, Bahrain and the UAE, which have signed normalisation agreements with Israel, Qatar has made normalised relations conditional upon the establishment of a Palestinian State.