In a significant development, Qatar has rejected Israeli interest to be permitted to open a transitory department or consulate in order to facilitate latter’s citizens to attend FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. The Israeli government is said to have encouraged FIFA to come down on Doha for this to get the permission. According to Israeli media, negotiations between Qatar and Israel in this regard have been a failure. Although Israel’s i24NEWS channel claimed a few days ago that secret talks were taking place between Doha and Tel Aviv, Qatari sources confirmed to Alaraby Aljadeed that this request arrived through FIFA, not Israel. The same sources denied any direct contact between Israel and Qatar. Israel has not qualified for the tournament which begins in November but has announced a deal that will allow its citizens, like other foreigners, to obtain a Qatari entry visa with proof of ticket purchase. FIFA announced in June that an agreement had been reached allowing Israelis to travel and watch the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar without the need for a visa. The reports about a consular office handling the affairs of football supporters from Israel while in Doha claimed that Qatar rejects Israeli interest by saying “Qatar stipulated the establishment of a Palestinian state in order to normalize relations with Israel.” Israel, meanwhile, apparently had hopes of keeping the office open after the tournament, and thus have a foothold in the Gulf State. “Love of football and sport connects people and states,” said Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid earlier this year, “and the World Cup in November opens a new door for us to warm ties [with Qatar].” Notably, Qatar hosted an Israeli trade office from 1995 to 2000, but is seen as unlikely to join other Gulf states in establishing full ties with Israel due to its own relationship to Iran. Interestingly, the Israel Hayom daily reported in May that more than 15,000 Israelis had already purchased tickets for the 2022 World Cup.