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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Video: Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon shakes hands with Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal

This is what you've all been waiting for: Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon shakes hands with Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal. Let's go to the videotape.

The Prince has been trying to play down the significance ever since.

The LA Times describes what happened.
Ayalon accused Faisal of conspiring to split a panel that was to include representatives from several countries including Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Russia and the U.S. because the Saudi did not wish to sit next to the Israeli.

Faisal said he objected to sitting next to Ayalon not because Ayalon was Israeli, but because of Ayalon's "boorish" behavior toward the Turkish ambassador to Israel, Ahmet Oguz Celikkol.

Ayalon was forced to apologize to Turkey last month after breaching diplomatic protocol with Celikkol in an attempt to shame the Turkish ambassador over a controversial television show.

The statement also said Faisal defended his country against Ayalon's accusation that Saudi Arabia had "not given a penny" to the Palestinian Authority, saying: "[I reminded] him that the Kingdom has given more than $500 million in the last five years to the PA as a stop-gap measure."

Ayalon apologized to Faisal and the two shook hands in a gesture of reconciliation, but presumably the Saudi caught enough flack for it to release a clarifying statement.

There's a more detailed description of the sequence of events in the New York Times. On Twitter on Monday, Ayalon posted tweets in both English and Hebrew denying that he had apologized to the Prince for anything.



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