J'lem presses UN over Qatar climate change summit

Environmental protection minister's attendance at conference hindered by Shin Bet demand to resolve security issues.

Qatar Doha skyline buildings 311 R (photo credit: REUTERS)
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 November.
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 security issues.
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 minute.
Qatar established trade ties with Israel in 1996 and allowed the opening of an Israeli trade bureau there.
Doha severed those ties, however, soon after Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009.