Russia Moves in Support of Syria, Iran, Hamas-Led PA
Russia is pushing for recognition of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, while also tempering global opposition to Iran and arming Syria.
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
First Publish: 2/27/2007, 5:02 PM
Russia's announcement Tuesday that it would work to promote international support for the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, its intention to supply missiles to Syria and its opposition to sanctions against Iran present a worrying trend for Israel.
Russian officials said that the agreement reached between the leaders of Hamas and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to incorporate the latter's Fatah terrorist organization in the PA governing coalition is sufficient cause to end the international boycott of the PA. The Western nations imposed the financial boycott of the PA in January of last year, when the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas organization swept the majority of the seats in the PA parliament in a landslide election victory.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the agreement reached in Mecca earlier this month between Fatah and Hamas shows "wisdom, reason and responsibility before the Palestinian people." He made the statement prior to meeting with Damascus-based Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal. The agreement has not yet been implemented.
According to information received by Israel, Russia is set to transfer thousands of advanced anti-tank missiles to Syria.
"We are pushing for all members of the international community to support this process and make it irreversible, including efforts to lift the blockade," Lavrov added.
Speaking to Russian reporters on Tuesday, Mashaal reiterated the Hamas position that it does not recognize the State of Israel, saying, "First of all, Israel should stop the occupation of Palestine territories and put an end to the suffering of Palestinians." The Hamas charter, as well as all of its official statements and documents, defines all of Israel, in both its pre- and post-1967 borders, as "occupied Palestine."
The Russian move towards funding the Hamas regime found an echo in a report issued by the United Nations Human Rights Council, which suggested that that the Western-led economic boycott of the PA must be lifted in order to fight poverty in the Gaza area.
Backing Syria and Iran, Too
The Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority is not the only entity hostile to Jews and Israel behind which Russia has been throwing its support.
According to information received by Israel, Russia is set to conclude a deal, worth several hundred million dollars, to transfer thousands of advanced anti-tank missiles to Syria. Such missiles were used by Hizbullah during Israel's war in Lebanon this past summer and caused a large proportion of Israeli troop casualties during the 34 days of military confrontation.
Russian nuclear fuel deliveries to Iran's Bushehr plant are set to begin in March 2007.
Syria's ally, Iran, is also a beneficiary of Russian support. The ongoing assistance Russia provides for construction and operation of the Bushehr nuclear plant in southern Iran is soon to take a dangerous turn, with the start of nuclear fuel deliveries in March 2007.
Russia has continued to oppose increasing UN Security Council sanctions against Iran. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has continued to insist that the Security Council confine its attempts to limit, not end, Iran’s nuclear development activities.
In protest over Russia's assistance to Iran, the Magshimey Herut (Freedom Makers) organization will be holding a protest on Thursday afternoon in Jerusalem's Paris Square. The group is demanding that the Israeli government cut off diplomatic and economic ties with Russia.
"Israel must take a moral stand and send a clear message to the global community that we will not pursue diplomacy or commerce with nations working towards our annihilation," a statement from the group said.
"The Jewish People must find the moral courage to stand up to super-powers in such situations," Eli Yosef of Magshimei Herut told IsraelNationalRadio's Yishai Fleisher. Click here to hear their talk.
Magshimey Herut is a new youth movement operating in coordination with the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish National Fund. It is not a part of the right-wing Herut party, but the party has expressed its support of the youth movement's Zionist goals and aims.