The 2009 winner of Graeme Dobell's Madeleine Award — for the best use of symbol, stunt, prop, gesture or jest in international affairs — has only just been announced, yet I think I can say with some confidence that we already have a winner for 2010.
At the very least, this entry will take some beating. I found this Christian Science Monitor story via Daniel Drezner's blog, and it describes a meeting between Turkey's ambassador to Israel and Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon. The Israelis were upset about criticisms of Israel made by the Turkish Prime Minister, and about how Israeli intelligence officers were depicted in a fictional Turkish TV show. They let it show:
Breaking with diplomatic protocol, Israeli officials failed to include the customary Turkish flag on the table between them and the Turkish ambassador, whom they seated on a low couch. To rub it in, they instructed the press members in attendance to note that they were sitting in higher chairs and the usual diplomatic niceties were conspicuously absent.
This is not a joke. Check out the photo the CS Monitor ran with the story.