Russia Emerges as Arbiter to Settle Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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The Bd Express: 

Following the UN Security Council’s vote on the resolution condemning Israel’s settlement-building policy in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Palestinians need to boost their relations with Russia, which has become a major power in the Middle East, Muhammed Asad al-Awawi, an expert in Palestinian affairs, told Sputnik.

On December 23, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2334 (2016) on Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory, with the sole abstention of the United States. “The Russian Federation voted for it because the resolution is based on tested formulas reflecting the general view of the international community, which has been reaffirmed many times, on the illegality of Israeli settlement plans in Palestinian territory,” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation said in its official statement, published on the Ministry’s website. © AFP 2016/ POOL/ MAXIM SHIPENKOV Putin, Netanyahu Agree to Cooperate in Anti-Terrorism Fight in Phone Call “Our experience shows convincingly that a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is only possible through direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis without any preconditions,” the statement reads, “We would also like to reaffirm our readiness to host a meeting between the leaders of Israel and Palestine in Moscow.” Muhammed Asad al-Awawi, who teaches history and Palestinian issues in the Open University in Jerusalem, believes that the Palestinians should seek closer cooperation with Russia, since Moscow has become one of the major players in the Middle East. “I think the Palestinians need to turn to Russia, because this country has become a major player in Middle East politics,” al-Awawi told Sputnik Arabic. Commenting on the matter, al-Awawi pointed out that UN Resolution 2334 was a bolt from the blue for Israeli society and the country’s political analysts. “Being in Israel, I can say that Israeli society and its political analysts were shocked by the UN Security Council’s decision, because throughout its history and especially under [Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu, this country has operated outside the law and above the law,” the academic said, adding that some Israelis have gone so far as to demand Netanyahu’s resignation, because he “failed to cope with his responsibilities.”  © SPUTNIK/ VLADIMIR ASTAPKOVICH UN Resolution on Israel: ‘Many Among the Israeli Public Do Not Stand Behind Netanyahu’s Policies’ Al-Awawi envisions that Resolution 2334 will unite the Palestinian political forces. “For the first time, the United States made it possible to adopt a resolution condemning Israel’s actions,” he noted, “Now [the Palestinians] stand a good chance of gaining success on the international arena.” Indeed, the only reason the proposed resolution was approved by the Security Council was because the United States broke with its tradition of shielding Israel and didn’t use its veto power, as it had many times before, Reuters remarked Saturday. The US’ move has prompted a storm of criticism from Israel. “All the American presidents after [Jimmy] Carter have stood by the US promise not to allow the UN to force Israel to do anything. Yesterday, US President Barack Obama violated this promise — as well as his own promise from 2011 — when he did not use his veto power to veto this anti-Israel resolution in the UN,” Netanyahu said during a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony on Saturday night, as quoted by Arutz Sheva. However, US President-elect Donald Trump signaled Friday that he does not agree with the Obama administration’s decision.

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