Israel’s President Isaac Herzog is scheduled to attend the COP28 United Nations Climate Change conference in Dubai which begins on Thursday, where he is expected to hold talks with international top diplomats on the release of hostages held by Hamas and make a speech before returning home on Friday.
Herzog's visit to the UAE will take place about 7 weeks since the Israel-Hamas war began and coincides with talks about the extension of a truce amid ongoing attempts to release more hostages.
The prime minister's attendance at COP28 is two-fold, according to the Office of the President.
“The purpose of these meetings is to reveal to world leaders in a clear and profound manner the atrocities committed by the Hamas terror organization during the horrific massacre on October 7 and to emphasize the essential security threat that led to Israel’s forced entry into the war,” Herzog’s office said in a statement.
In addition, Herzog "intends to engage world leaders in a high-level humanitarian effort to return the hostages," the statement read, and to conduct a "series of diplomatic meetings on the importance of releasing the hostages held by Hamas."
Herzog said he “seeks to garner international support for Israel's cause, emphasizing the urgency of reuniting the abducted individuals with their families. This diplomatic push underscores Israel's commitment to resolving the crisis through diplomatic channels and garnering international cooperation to address the humanitarian aspects of the conflict.”
Israel has noted that many in the international community have been quick to ignore that Israel’s airstrikes and ground operation in Gaza is a response to Hamas’ brutal invasion, accompanied by thousands of missiles against Israeli cities, of southern Israel on Oct. 7 and the horrific raping, murdering, torturing and abducting that killed at least 1,200 people.
Notably the COP28 conference will also be attended by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, who will join the roughly 140 heads of state and government due to address COP28 on Friday and Saturday.
Both Herzog and Abbas are both scheduled to make three-minute long speeches at the conference on Friday.
On Thursday, climate activists will hold a press conference to demand a "permanent ceasefire in Gaza" and to "end to Israel's 17-year blockade of the enclave," according to the COP28 Coalition.
"The climate movement see the struggle of the Palestinian people against occupation and apartheid as part and parcel of our collective struggle for climate justice," the statement read.
This past May, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was formally invited by UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohammed Al Khaja to attend COP28. Just two months prior, the UAE and Israel signed the final part of a free trade agreement to boost bilateral trade between the two countries.
In November 2022, Israel, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates signed an upgraded memorandum of understanding, promising to pursue a trilateral desalination-and-solar project before this year's COP28.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.