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Monday, May 27, 2024

Putin blames US for Middle East violence

Palestinians need a nation state so their interests are respected, the Russian president has said

The ongoing crisis in the Middle East triggered by last week’s surprise incursion by the Palestinian militant group Hamas into southern Israel is a testament to Washington’s inability to resolve conflicts, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

I believe many would agree with me that it is a glaring example of the failures of the US Middle East policies. They tried to monopolize the peace settlement, but unfortunately paid no attention to searching for compromises that would be acceptable for both parties,” the Russian leader explained on Tuesday.

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Instead, Washington put pressure on both sides in an attempt to impose its own solutions on them, he added. The US “never took into account the core interests of the Palestinian people,” Putin claimed. Those interests primarily involve the creation of an independent Palestinian nation state, as outlined in UN Security Council resolutions, he noted.

Putin made the remarks during a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani in Moscow. The Russian president said he believed the two nations were united in prioritizing the minimization of harm done to civilians by both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Other senior Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, had previously blamed the US for the renewed hostilities. The top Russian diplomat suggested on Monday that the so-called quartet of Middle East mediators – which includes the US, Russia, the EU and the UN – should take a leading role in peace talks. The US, he said, had sidelined this mechanism to “monopolize” the process for its own benefit.

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Hamas, which is based in Gaza, launched a surprise attack on Israeli territory on Saturday, overwhelming the country’s air defenses with massive rocket barrages and conducting a lightning raid. Its fighters killed civilians and took hostages with a view to trading them for prisoners in Israeli custody.

Israel responded with a military operation targeting Gaza, saying its goal was to obliterate Hamas. The small coastal strip of land is home to some 2 million residents, whose lives are greatly impacted by the Israeli blockade, which has been in place since 2007.

The US has pledged military support for Israel and has called on other nations to condemn Hamas for its actions. Moscow has condemned all violence against civilians, regardless of which side of the conflict carries it out, and has argued that fighting extremism is no substitute for a genuine reconciliation based on a two-state solution.