Wednesday, November 09, 2022

The COP27 conference in Egypt has the usual comedy that we see at all major international conferences.

Israeli delegates say that they met, or talked with, or were in the same room as Arab enemies, and the Arab delegates are forced to deny or downplay it, as best they can.

In this case, as AP reports:
Israel's environmental protection minister attended a regional meeting Tuesday alongside Iraqi and Lebanese leaders at the global climate conference taking place in Egypt, the minister's office said, where the group pledged to work together to tackle climate change.

According to a statement from the office of Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg, the meeting took place as part of a regional forum of eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries.

The agreement by the member countries said the parties would work to “strengthen regional cooperation" and “act in a coordinated way” on climate change.

“The countries of the region share the warming and drying climate and just as they share the problems they can and must share the solutions. No country can stand alone in the face of the climate crisis,” Zandberg said in the statement.

In photos provided by her office, she is seen seated behind a small Israeli flag. Two seats away from her is Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid and across the room is Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, each behind their countries' flags.

 

The Lebanese caretaker prime minister was upset:
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Tuesday denied “any communication with any Israeli official,” after the website of Israeli newspaper Haaretz published a photo showing him and Israel's environmental protection minister along with several world leaders and officials at the U.N.’s COP27 climate summit in Egypt.

“The objectives of the noise that the Israeli media fabricates at such conferences have become known,” Mikati’s office said.
There was also angst at this photo of Zandberg shaking the hand of Palestinian prime minister Mohamed Shtayyeh:


This screenshot from a video of President Isaac Herzog seen joking  with Tunisia’s Prime Minister Najla Bouden, both smiling, has also caused upset in the Arab world.




It is a little childish on both sides - Zandberg's announcing that Israel and Lebanon and Iraq are cooperating when there were lots of other nations represented in the room, as well as Israel's Arab enemies getting bent out of shape over any reports of treating Israeli representatives as human beings. 

What Israeli officials should do is attempt to shake hands with their enemies with a big smile. If the Arabs reciprocate, wonderful; if they refuse the handshake the Israelis can shake their heads, still smiling, and call out "Have a nice day!" or "No, my hands are really clean, see?" or some other joke, for the cameras.  

Even better, calling out to the Arab leader loudly and laughingly, "How wonderful it is to see you! We'll catch up later, OK?" or "Send my best regards to your wife!" or "Meet you at the bar tonight!"

It would instantly turn the supposed Arab honor at refusing to treat Israelis as humans into a bigger embarrassment.  And the fear of shame is the major motivating factor in the Arab world.



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