ZURICH (AP) — Soccer fans from Israel and the Palestinian territories can share flights to the World Cup in Qatar in a breakthrough agreement announced by FIFA on Thursday.

Charter flights to Doha from Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv for soccer games starting on Nov. 20 will be open to all Palestinians, FIFA said. This includes residents from the occupied West Bank and blockaded Gaza Strip who typically cannot travel through Israel’s main airport.

Though Israel and Qatar do not share diplomatic relations, a temporary consular service will be set up in Doha for the tournament.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said the agreement was the result “hard work over the course of many months.”

A Qatari government statement said the travel arrangement was “part of Qatar’s commitment to FIFA’s hosting requirements and it should not be politicized.”

The first World Cup to be hosted in the Middle East and an Arab nation runs from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18.


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