Under strict security protection, Israeli UN representative Danny Danon secretly participated in an international conference in Dubai as an official Israeli diplomat, the Palestinian Alresalahnewspaper reported yesterday.
Alresalah cited Israeli television station Channel Two as saying that Danon participated in the International Development Conference in his capacity as the Chairman of the Sixth Committee, a UN body dealing with legal issues.
Although he was invited a couple of months ago, it was kept under wraps allegedly out of fear of the reaction of Israeli opposition parties.
Israeli media has speculated that Danon’s visit is in keeping with the latest remarks of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel has forged new relations with Arab states with whom it did not previously have diplomatic relations.
Last Monday, Netanyahu repeated these remarks before the opening of the winter session of the Israeli Knesset. “Israel’s positon is improving in the Arab world,” he said, adding “there are Arabs who recognise that Israeli is not an enemy for them, but an ally against terrorism.”
Meanwhile, the Israeli media noted that the ruler of Dubai and the deputy ruler of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, participated in the same conference.
Israeli news websites said that it was clear for the participants that Danon was representing Israel in the conference. Israeli news stations did not mention whether Danon had met any of the UAE’s officials or if he had passed any messages from Netanyahu to them.
Earlier this year, several Israeli officials, including Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dore Gold, revealed that they had contacted officials from the UAE and also revealed details of other Israeli visits to the Arab state.