Cop28: In a first, Qatar’s emir shakes hands with Israeli president
Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Friday at the United Nations Climate Change Conference Cop28, marking the first time the Emir was photographed with an Israeli official.
The two leaders met at the event, hosted in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the same day a Qatari and Egypt-brokered truce between Israel and Hamas broke.
The temporary truce was in place for seven days, after being extended twice, before finally lapsing when Israel resumed its bombardment of the Gaza Strip on Friday.
Qatar’s Emir was shown shaking hands with Herzog, while engaging in conversation.
A statement published on Herzog’s presidency website did not offer further details on the interaction.
His office said that he “emphasised the humanitarian duty to release the hostages held by Hamas,” while meeting with Britain’s King Charles and that he met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who “emphatically condemned the terror activities of Hamas".
Israel and Qatar do not have formal diplomatic relations but have maintained communication due to Qatar’s role as the key mediator with Hamas.
Earlier today, Qatar’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying it “expresses its deep regret at the resumption of the Israeli aggression against Gaza,” adding that the renewed offensive “complicates” the diplomatic efforts.
On Thursday, Herzog met with the UAE’s Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, asking him to use his "political weight" to help free all of the Israeli captives held by Hamas in Gaza.
"The President appealed to his friend Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to employ his full political weight to promote and speed up the return home of the hostages," his office said.
The meeting was his first overseas trip since the war started on 7 October.
More than 140 heads of state and government are due to address Cop28 on Friday and Saturday, including Herzog.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had also been scheduled to speak at the event but his office said he was no longer going and his foreign minister would take his place.