Palestinian leader seeks Russia’s backing over Jerusalem
JERUSALEM, FEB 12 (DNA) – Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas visits Russia on Monday in a bid to secure Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support following Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The Palestinian leader was set to visit Moscow two weeks after a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Abbas has refused any contact with US President Donald Trump’s administration since Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital at the end of last year. Abbas is due to speak at the United Nations Security Council on February 20.
Palestinians see the US decision, which broke with years of international diplomacy, as a denial of their claim to East Jerusalem as the capital of an eventual Palestinian state.
Israel took control of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, annexed it and later declared it the indivisible capital of Israel.
The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has accused Abbas of lacking the courage needed to forge a peace deal with Israel.
Abbas in turn has rejected any mediation by Washington in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has promised his people to work towards full recognition of a Palestinian state by the United Nations.
Alexander Shumilin, a Middle East scholar at the Institute for US and Canadian Studies, called Abbas’s visit “an attempt to cosy up to Russia, a consistent ally, and to stop Netanyahu leading Moscow astray during an improvement in Russia-Israeli ties”.
Netanyahu visited Russia on January 29 and along with Putin attended a memorial ceremony at the Jewish museum in Moscow for the victims of Nazi camps. He took the opportunity to accuse Iran of wanting to “destroy” the Jewish state.
In turn, the Russian president likened antisemitism to “Russophobia” and said Russia and Israel were “cooperating closely”, particularly against “attempts to falsify history”.
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