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Two months before the start of the World Cup, direct contacts are underway between Israel and Qatar to provide the Israelis with consular assistance during the tournament.

Kan 11 News reported on Wednesday that, during the contacts, Qatar asked Israel to also permit Palestinian Arabs to fly to the World Cup games.

Senior Israeli officials recently visited Qatar for coordination talks ahead of the tournament. According to information received by Kan 11 News, Israel would like to establish an office of interests in the country, but Qatar has reacted coldly to the idea. Talks on the issue are still ongoing, and have not yet reached a solution.

Qatar sees the World Cup as an opportunity to position itself in the region and, among other things, to work to promote a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict. Israeli journalists will be permitted to come to Qatar during the World Cup, but they will be required to fill out a special journalist visa. Officials in Jerusalem confirmed the talks between Israel and Qatar, but refused to elaborate on the matter.

In June, an agreement was reached with FIFA allowing Israelis to fly to Qatar and watch the World Cup games, without the need for a visa. According to FIFA rules, the Qataris were obliged to approve entry for any Israeli who submitted a visa to see the games, but went so far as to eliminate the need for the procedure.

Qatar has in recent years had an ongoing engagement with Israel over aid to Gaza. Qatar has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to pay for electricity in the Strip, build new roads and hospitals, help Hamas cover the salaries of its civil servants and provide monthly stipends to poor families.

However, Qatari officials have ruled out the idea of normalization with Israel. In February, Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, said that Qatar had previously maintained ties with Israel "when there was prospects for peace" with the Palestinian Arabs, but that his country "lost hope" after the 2008-2009 Gaza War.

He added that Qatar continues its "working relationship" to help the Palestinian people, but that it is difficult to envision joining the Abraham Accords "in the absence of a real commitment to a two-state solution."