Russian President Vladimir Putin showcased how Russia’s relationship with Israel has taken a hit in recent years by not condemning the high-profile Hamas attack from last weekend and not picking up the phone to contact Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
While the Russian leader stated that Israel has the right to defend itself, he warned Jerusalem not to punish average Gazans too extensively. Putin said an Israeli ground offensive in Gaza would result in an “absolutely unacceptable” number of dead civilians, according to Reuters.
He also criticized the blockade around Gaza and compared it to that of Stalingrad during WWII.
“More than 2 million people live there,” Putin said. “Far from all of them support Hamas by the way, far from all. But all of them have to suffer, including women and children. Of course, it’s hard for anyone to agree with this.”
Putin is not alone in his concerns over ordinary Gazans as Israel carries out its revenge attack.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Israel’s onslaught a “massacre.”
“Preventing people meeting their most fundamental needs and bombing housing where civilians live—in short, conducting a conflict using every sort of shameful method—is not a war, it’s a massacre,” Erdogan said, according to Al Jazeera. “We openly oppose the killing of civilians on Israeli territories. Likewise, we can never accept the massacre of defenseless innocents in Gaza by indiscriminate, constant bombardments.”
Erdogan made the comment shortly before the UN announced that Israel’s call for 1.1 million people to clear out of Gaza before a major military incursion is “impossible” to carry out without “devastating humanitarian consequences.”
Putin announced that Russia is ready to try and help end the bloodshed in Gaza and said there is “no alternative” to a two-state solution, according to The Moscow Times.
The Guardian noted that Russia has worked on its ties with Israel and Netanyahu has tried not to anger Russia. (Israel has not joined the West in sanctioning Russia after the Ukraine invasion.)
TRENDPOST: The New York Times reported that Putin once had a relatively close relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but since the outbreak of the Ukraine War, there seems to be a chill. The paper noted that as of Friday, the Russian leader has not reached out to his Israeli counterpart.
Instead, Putin—while condemning the Hamas attack—said the incident was a “clear example of the failure of United States policy in the Middle East.” While making clear that he believes Israel has an obligation to defend itself, Washington’s knee-jerk reaction is to never take into account the “fundamental interests of the Palestinian people.”
Erdogan seemed to agree, saying: “If the West has the slightest respect for human rights, it must discuss the types of aid that should be sent to Gaza. There is no way to bring peace to the Middle East except through establishing a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.”
The Trends Journal has reported on the difficult relationship between Russia and Israel since the start of the Ukraine War. (See “WWIII: ISRAEL SAYS RUSSIA COULD PROVIDE IRAN WITH UPDATED AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS SO WINDOW ON NUKE FACILITIES COULD BE CLOSING” 7 Mar 2023, “RUSSIA WARNS ISRAEL AGAINST PROVIDING UKRAINE WITH IRON DOME DEFENSE SYSTEM” 7 Feb 2023, and “RUSSIA SENDS WARNING TO ISRAEL OVER DRONE ATTACK, HINTS THAT U.S. WAS INVOLVED” 31 Jan 2023.)
Israel called the Russian invasion of Ukraine a “serious violation of international order” at the beginning of the conflict and has been reluctant to say more.