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Qatar World Cup 2022: Tunisia fans raise 'Free Palestine' flag at 48th minute against Australia to remember Nakba

The Palestinian flag has become a symbol of this year's World Cup as regional fans seek to bring attention to the Israeli occupation
A fan holds a flag of Palestine as he cheers for the national team of Tunisia during the World Cup group D football match (Reuters)

Tunisian fans unfurled a "Free Palestine" flag in the 48th minute of their Qatar World Cup match against Australia on Saturday, in reference to what is known by Arabs as the 1948 Nakba when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homeland by Zionist militias. 

Despite Palestine not qualifying for the tournament, which is being held in the Middle East for the first time, its national flag has become a ubiquitous symbol throughout the event.

Tunisian and other Arab footballing fans have made a point of displaying Palestinian flags and wearing Palestinian shawls over their shoulders. 

Such is this positive sentiment and regional solidarity towards Palestine that in one viral video, an Egyptian fan, smiling, leans into the camera of an Israeli broadcaster and relays a simple message: "Viva Palestine."

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Social media posts in recent days show fans who, after realising they are being interviewed by Israeli media, walk away or call for the liberation of Palestine. 

Even though Qatar and Israel have no official relations, for the first time, there are direct flights between Tel Aviv and Doha, with fans and diplomatic officials being allowed for the first time. 

Ahead of the World Cup in Doha, hundreds of fans gathered and waved the Palestinian flag, with reports stating that it was part of an event organised by the Qatar Youth Against Normalisation group. 

The Nakba, or "the catastrophe", is the name Palestinians give to the massacres and forced expulsion they endured at the hand of Zionist militias in 1948 to make way for the creation of Israel.

Entire Palestinian villages were massacred, with Zionist gangs indiscriminately killing unarmed civilians and burying some in mass graves.

Tunisia vs. Australia

Away from the stands and on the pitch, Australia defeated Tunisia 1-0 in their second World Cup match. 

The winning goal by Mitchell Duke gave the Australians their first World Cup victory in 12 years and kept their dreams alive in the competition. 

Australia now moves up to second in Group D, just behind the reigning champions, France. Australia will play Denmark in their match on November 30. 

The victory against Tunisia was only the third for Australia in over 30 years of participating in the World Cup. It also keeps them in the running to move to the next stages after being thrashed by France on Tuesday in a 4-1 loss. 

Once Australia scored in the 23rd minute, the key statistic that would have come to mind for most Tunisians is that they have not won a single match in the last 30, once conceding first. 

Saudi Arabia vs. Poland

The Saudi-Polish match started with Herve Renard, the manager of the Saudi Arabian team, denying that each player was promised a Rolls Royce as a reward for their stunning World Cup victory over Argentina earlier in the week. 

However, the 2-0 victory by Poland against Saudi Arabia is unlikely to earn the players extra vehicles, apparently. 

Robert Lewandowski scored his first World Cup goal eight minutes from time to help earn Poland a 2-0 victory in the Group C clash.

Wojciech Szczesny solidified Poland's lead over Saudi Arabia with a double penalty save at the World Cup. The Juventus goalkeeper kept out Salem Al-Dawsari's effort before stopping a rebound shot by Mohammed Al Burayk.

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