Qatar Doha skyline buildings 311 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel is asking the United Nations to press Qatar to loosen criteria and to
resolve the dispute between the two countries concerning Environmental
Protection Minister Gilad Erdan’s security detail, so that the minister can
participate in a UN conference on climate change taking place there in
According to a spokeswoman for Erdan, when the minister began
logistical planning for the conference, contact was made with the Qataris who
said he would be allowed into the country. The Qatari officials said they would
provide Erdan with all the security he needed.
The Shin Bet (Israel
Security Agency), however, made clear that it would not allow Erdan – or any
official Israeli representative – to go to Qatar without resolving their
The appeal to the UN to intervene, the spokeswoman said,
was based on the argument that it was unacceptable that an important environment
conference be held, with decisions made that could affect Israel, without
Israeli representation because of security reasons.
The last Israeli
minister to publicly visit an Arab country was Energy and Water Minister Uzi
Landau, who went to the UAE for a conference of the International Renewable
Energy Agency in January 2010.
Though Landau was told beforehand that his
security detail would be allowed in, they were turned away at the last
Qatar established trade ties with Israel in 1996 and allowed the
opening of an Israeli trade bureau there.
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Doha severed those ties,
however, soon after Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009.
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