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Anger as Tunisia PM seen chatting with Israel president

Israel's President Isaac Herzog on September 06, 2022 [Abdulhamid Hoşbaş/Anadolu Agency]
Israel's President Isaac Herzog on September 06, 2022 [Abdulhamid Hoşbaş/Anadolu Agency]

A video circulating on social media showing Tunisian Prime Minister Najla Boden in conversation with Israeli President Isaac Herzog at the COP27 climate conference has sparked widespread controversy.

In the video, Boden appeared to smile at Herzog, followed by quick, inaudible expressions between the two, which many considered an "unacceptable mistake" on her part, especially as Tunisia does not have ties with the occupation state.

The footage was captured as world leaders were preparing to take a group picture at the climate conference in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh.

This comes after Israel Hayom reported in June that there is diplomatic communication between Israel and Tunisia about possible normalisation.

The newspaper noted that "Israel and Tunisia had diplomatic relations in the past, and the two countries opened diplomatic representation offices in Tunisia and Tel Aviv in 1996, after the signing of the Oslo Accords. However, these offices were closed immediately after the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000."

"Chairwoman of the Public Committee for the Integration of Eastern Jews, Dr Miriam Gez-Avigal, made it clear that despite the closure of these offices, Israelis can enter Tunisia with an Israeli passport, albeit in a limited manner."

Tunisian President Kais Saied has previously ruled out normalising with the occupation state. While he was still a presidential candidate, Saied said normalisation with Israel was "high treason."

"The word normalisation is a wrong word to begin with, we are at war with a usurping entity," he explained.

READ: Following his defeat, Lapid cancels attendance of COP27

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