Israeli President to discuss hostage issue on margins of COP28 conference in Dubai

Middle East News
2023-11-30 | 03:58
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Israeli President to discuss hostage issue on margins of COP28 conference in Dubai
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Israeli President to discuss hostage issue on margins of COP28 conference in Dubai

Israeli President Isaac Herzog is participating in the United Nations Climate Change Conference "COP28," which begins its proceedings on Thursday in the United Arab Emirates. He will engage in discussions with diplomats regarding the release of hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. 

His visit comes weeks after the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas and coincides with an extension of a truce for an additional day, following six days of negotiations. The ceasefire was initially set to expire on Thursday morning. Intensive talks are ongoing to secure the release of more hostages. 

The Israeli presidency stated that Herzog will hold "a series of diplomatic meetings on the importance of releasing the prisoners held by Hamas" during the COP28 conference, which is also attended by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. 

The statement added that Herzog "intends to involve world leaders in high-level humanitarian efforts to release the hostages." 

More than 140 heads of state and government will deliver brief speeches during the conference on Friday and Saturday, including Herzog and Abbas, whose speeches are separated by only three leaders, according to the order announced by the United Nations. 

The negotiated truce, mediated by Qatar with support from Egypt and the United States, has so far led to the release of 70 hostages held in Gaza and 210 Palestinians from Israeli prisons. Additionally, 30 other hostages, mostly foreign workers, were released outside the agreement. 

During its unprecedented attack inside Israeli territory on October 7, Hamas seized around 240 hostages, taking them to Gaza, according to the Israeli army. The conflict resulted in the death of around 1,200 people in Israel, mostly civilians who perished on the first day of the attack, according to Israeli authorities. 

In response, Israel carried out intensive airstrikes on Gaza, accompanied by extensive ground operations within the Strip since October 27, vowing to "eliminate" Hamas. This led to the death of approximately 15,000 people in Gaza, including over 6,000 children, according to the Hamas government. The Civil Defense in Gaza estimates around 7,000 people are missing. 

The war casts its shadow on the climate conference in Dubai, as activists plan movements expressing solidarity with the Palestinians. 

Environmental activists will hold a press conference on Thursday, demanding a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and an end to the Israeli blockade, which has persisted for 17 years. 

The "COP28 Coalition," an international network of human rights and environmental organizations, stated in a release that "the environmental movement considers the Palestinian people's struggle against occupation and racial segregation an integral part of our collective struggle for climate justice." 

AFP 
 

Middle East News

Israel

President

Isaac Herzog

United Nations

Climate Change

Conference

COP28

United Arab Emirates

Hostages

Hamas

Gaza Strip

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