Who is the Surprise Winner at the World Cup – Palestine!!

Tunisian fans show their support for Palestine. Palestine does not have a team in this year’s World Cup. But according to the New York Times “Palestine has become the World Cup’s unofficial team”. Read more….

You might think that the Palestinian team was in the finals at the World Cup. Nope, not even close. Palestine didn’t even qualify. But, despite a nominal ban on political displays, Palestinian flags, keffiyehs and “Free Palestine” banners are everywhere. And neither FIFA nor Qatar appear willing (or able) to prevent the Palestinian cause from suffusing the games.

Arab teams and fans from across the Global South have been using the tournament’s global stage to elevate the Palestinian cause in the stands and on the field. Waving the Flag of the World Cup’s Unofficial Team, according to the New York Times.

“Waving the Flag of the World Cup’s Unofficial Team” – New York Times

However, Israel did allow a small number of Palestinians to get out of the West Bank to attend the games. Those who made the long journey said they felt their attendance at the world’s biggest sporting event served a political purpose.

“I am here as a reminder that in 2022, our land is still occupied, said Moawya Maher, a 31-year-old businessman from Hebron, a particularly tense West Bank city. He was dancing at a concert at the FIFA Fan Festival, wearing a Palestinian flag as a cape.

From player demonstrations to unfurled flags, the Palestinian struggle has been visible and fearless at the World Cup. CBC senior sports contributor Shireen Ahmed traveled to Qatar to cover the World Cup. In an interview with the Nation magazine, Ahmed marveled that she had never seen so many Palestinian flags carried by people from other countries, or so many fans supporting Palestinian liberation. “As someone who was born and raised in Canada and who has always had to navigate my own support for Palestinian resistance through a lens of whitewashing the occupation and the struggles, challenges, and cultural genocide of Palestinian people, this was really impactful,” she said. “The whole experience was transformative for me.”

Israel scores an own goal

Israeli journalists, seemingly expecting a warm “post-Abraham Accords” welcome at the World Cup, were rejected at every turn. One British fan, in a live interview on Israeli TV, was asked if he hoped England would bring the Cup home.It’s coming home…but more importantly, free Palestine! was his shouted reply.

As a Palestinian, Arab and human, I was not pleased with Qatar’s decision to allow Israeli journalists into the country for the World Cup”, wrote Ahmed Abu Rtema of Gaza. “However, the presence of Israeli media around Arab football fans is a rare opportunity to gauge popular opinion. And it showed – with abundant clarity – that the prevailing attitude is a strong, moral, popular Arab rejection of normalization with Israel, the colonial entity.”


  1. Mr.Larson. You come up with two or three comments of support of Palestinians but ignore thousands of comments of people who support the Abraham accords. My goodness. You don’t acknowledge your biases, your prejudices, and your anti semitism. Even though you are supposed to be a smart guy, you certainly aren’t. You cannot see yourself as other people see you.

    1. Hello Mr. Ehrenworth, thank you for your comment.
      In preparing this article, I carefully checked not only the “pro Palestinian” press but also some mainstream sources like the New York Times, and Israeli sources including the Jerusalem Post etc.

      They all comment on the “pro-Palestinian” mood at the games, and have shown many pictures like the ones in my post, of Palestinian flags – on and off the field.

      There are apparently many people in the stands from countries which have signed the so-called “Abraham Accords” but their support for the accords was not evident. I did not see a single Israeli flag in the stands in Doha. Did you?

      If so, would you please be so kind as to send us a couple of them.
      thank you.

  2. This display of solidarity with Palestinians should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the occupation over the years.The Abraham Accords are nothing more than agreements between governments, and like most others of their kind, are irrelevant on a daily basis, to the average citizen. No one should be fooled into thinking that the signatories of these accords are in any way representative of their populations. The Abraham Accords is a euphemism for US financial backing of member countries against the perceived Iranian threat. They have nothing to do with the broad popular support for Palestinian rights amongst most of the world, not just the Arab one. Considering that for decades western governments have enabled illegal Israeli conduct, it should be obvious that when given a forum for expression without fear of censure, the depth of support for Palestine would be on full display. Now with a quasi fascist government set to take over Israeli politics, even staunch supporters of Israel are reevaluating their support. No one knows for certain what the new Israeli government will do or how far the US will go to contain it, but the more and more egregious Israeli crimes become, the stronger and stronger will be global support for justice for the Palestinian people. You will see many more such displays in the future, and no amount of push back from pro Israel groups and government enablers will be able to stop them. The world cup is a game, after all, justice for Palestine is not. The world cup winners are yet to be decided, but clearly Palestine has won the world’s heart.

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