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Russia Sponsors Pow Wow With Palestinian Terrorists

The welcome mat is out in Moscow for the world’s worst jihadists.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sponsored an outreach to Palestinian terrorists. Does Russia really need Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and 14 other Palestinian Liberation Organization members as pals? Apparently, the Russian president believes he does. On February 29, representatives from these terrorist factions met in Moscow to further the Russian chief executive’s desire to be an influential player not only in the affairs of the Palestinian militant organizations but also in the Middle East.

Russia and Hamas

Following the October 7 heinous Hamas attack on Israeli kibbutzim, reports started to circulate that Russia might have had a guiding hand in the early-morning murderous assault on the unsuspecting Israeli civilians. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as host for the February 29 gathering of Palestinian terrorist organizations, took an unexpected approach with the group. Whereas in the past, Russia has taken, if not an active part in supporting the Islamic jihadists in the Middle East, at least adopted a Saul-like approval of the carnage wrought by the Palestinian militias and terrorist groups. Lavrov took a more measured tone, opening this meeting.

The Russian FM called on the group to develop a Palestinian unity among the terrorist factions, so often at odds with each other. Lavrov’s comments revealed the underlying motivation for the Kremlin-sponsored event. The Russian Federation wants to be seen as the voice of reason in the Middle East to further its design on exerting its geopolitical power against the West and Europe. “Addressing the Palestinian delegations, Lavrov said Moscow had long advocated direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority but that, for reasons beyond its control, they were not taking place,” Reuters reported.

Again, from the Reuters dispatch, “‘ One of the pretexts for postponing and rescheduling these negotiations is the lack of unity within Palestinian ranks. Skeptics have argued that it is impossible to negotiate when one does not know who speaks for the Palestinians,’ said Lavrov.” A cynic might consider comments from the Russian diplomat as having a dual purpose. He’s clearly explaining what the Palestinians need to do if they are to be successful in obtaining legitimacy in the Middle East. But Lavrov is talking to the West as well. Specifically, he is saying to the Biden administration, “See, we want a two-state solution, just like you do.” The FM is also talking to Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected a two-state solution. In the past, when Israel has entertained the notion of coexisting with a united Palestinian neighbor, there has never been a united Palestinian neighbor.

Nonetheless, what the Russian foreign policy chief said seemed sane and reasonable. But beware of, as Hervey Cleckley, an American psychiatrist, titled his book, The Mask of Sanity – the appearance of normalcy hiding a malevolent purpose. Contrast what Lavrov pushed at his meeting with the Palestinians with his comments made two days earlier at the 2nd Congress of the International Russophile Movement. This conference brought together representatives from 130 nations that presumably “love” Russia if the organization’s name is anything to go by. Quoting from Lavrov’s speech:

“Your proactive fruitful work proves yet again that our country and our great culture with its eternal, perennial spiritual and moral compass inspires genuine sympathy across all continents…All the world religions and civilizations share these values…[I]t seems fitting that the destructive course adopted by the Western elites to isolate Russia, including in the global media and cultural spaces, and the overall determination to cancel everything dealing with our country in one way or another, has failed miserably.”

One can speculate, with some assurance of being accurate, that Lavrov’s comment about “All the world religions and civilizations” was not referring to Ukraine. Lavrov’s speech to the Russia-lovers emphasized the division existing between Russia and the West and Europe.

Moscow in the Middle East

So, what is Russia up to, really, with its outreach to Palestinian terrorist organizations? Keep in mind that a senior Hamas leader met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov shortly after the October 7 attack. Additionally, Russia has been highly critical of Israel’s prosecution of its self-defense war to eliminate Hamas as a threat. Furthermore, world public opinion is turning against Israel. The meeting between Russian representatives and the Palestinians further “[I]llustrates a growing aspect of international pressure, showing that Moscow is willing to try to step in and wield influence at a crucial juncture,” Seth J. Frantzman reported for The Jerusalem Post.

Though President Putin and his Kremlin leaders would like the world to think of Russia as the geopolitical linchpin in bringing peace to the Middle East, this meeting and similar initiatives are designed to promote Russia as a friend to the Palestinian militia factions. Unity among the terrorist organizations will not bring peace to the region. On the contrary, unifying the terrorist factions will be an even bigger threat to Israel and peace.

The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.

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