With Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper being feted by the Netanyahu team, taking his 200+ person delegation all over Israel, getting standing ovations in the Knesset, and showing deep affection for the Jewish and Israeli people, the Palestinian leaders are turning to Moscow, urging the Russians to play a “bigger role” in the Middle East in the months ahead.
Harper met with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Monday. In Ramallah, Harper announced $66 million in new foreign aid to the Palestinians. But Abbas seems little interested in lingering in the neighborhood while the most pro-Israel leader on the planet gets the red carpet treatment in the Holy Land. Abbas is, therefore, heading to the Kremlin for four days of high-level meetings with rising Czar Vladimir Putin and other top Russian officials.
“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet Russian political and religious leaders during a four-day visit to Russia this week, the RIA Novosti news service reported Tuesday, quoting a senior Palestinian official,” reports Haaretz.
“Abbas, who arrives in Moscow on Wednesday, is expected to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, to discuss bilateral relations and the United States-mediated talks between the Palestinians and Israel,” the Israeli daily notes.
“Abbas’s visit takes place at the time when our talks with Israel are deadlocked,” said Nabil Shaath, Fatah’s Commissioner of International Relations.
“Russia has played a huge role in reaching agreement with Iran and we are also seeing progress [in talks] on Syria. This brings us hope that the visit [of Abbas] will ensure progress in settling the Palestinian-Israeli issue,” Shaath said.
“In an interview with the Voice of Russia radio,” Haaretz reports, “Shhath said that Russia had shown ‘that it can do much, including in the Middle East as in the case of the Iranian nuclear program and the search for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. We believe that Russia can play a still bigger role in tackling other international problems….We hope that Russia will be able to continue to play an important role in the Palestinian issue.”