Hadeel Ikhmais left her home in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem at 5 a.m. on Tuesday to catch her 5 p.m. flight to Dubai. Ikhmais is the head of the climate change office at the Palestinian Environmental Quality Authority, or EQA, and for months she and her colleagues had been planning to attend COP28, the annual United Nations climate conference taking place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, this year. Encouraged by the fact that an Arab nation was hosting the conference for the second year in a row, the Palestinian government had paid the United Nations tens of thousands of dollars to secure a pavilion for the first time ever. Pavilions serve as spaces for press conferences, delegate meetings, and venues to showcase a country’s climate priorities to COP attendees. Palestinian delegates spent months designing visuals for the pavilion, securing funds for travel, and preparing materials for the conference. Nearly 50 delegates planned to attend.
Then, on October 7, Hamas launched an assault on towns and villages in southern Israel, and the Israeli military responded with a bloody bombing campaign acro... Read more