BEIRUT

Editorial

Russia blind to Gaza

Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting in his Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, on July 24, 2014. AFP PHOTO / RIA-NOVOSTI / POOL/ MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV

In recent years, pundits have been fond of talking up Russia’s return to the geopolitical arena, based on its growing political and economic clout.

But for the most part, Moscow has been silent as Israel carries out its military offensive against Palestinians in the Gaza strip.

Russia has its hands full with the crisis in Ukraine, but this hasn’t stopped it from pursuing its full support for the Syrian regime and maintaining military and political links to another embattled regime, in Iraq.

But an aspiring superpower is also expected to handle more than one world crisis at a time. As Israel pursues its campaign against Hamas and the people of Gaza, Russian politicians seemingly have nothing to contribute to the situation, unless it is to the continued well-being of the Israeli authorities.

In reporting on a telephone call this week between Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu, Russian media relayed a bland statement by Putin, who “hoped” for a cease-fire, and the two leaders’ discussion of the “Russian-Israeli agenda.”

Many in the region have highlighted how Russia supports the Syrian regime of President Assad against a supposed international conspiracy, but are silent when it comes to Russia’s ties with Israel.

The USSR offered robust rhetorical support for the Palestinians, while doing little to truly redress the imbalance in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since its demise, Moscow’s linkages and cooperation with Tel Aviv have grown substantially.

When Palestinian civilians are being killed by the hundreds, and the world’s eyes turn to Gaza, the silence from Russia is deafening.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 25, 2014, on page 7.

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Summary

In recent years, pundits have been fond of talking up Russia's return to the geopolitical arena, based on its growing political and economic clout.

Many in the region have highlighted how Russia supports the Syrian regime of President Assad against a supposed international conspiracy, but are silent when it comes to Russia's ties with Israel.

When Palestinian civilians are being killed by the hundreds, and the world's eyes turn to Gaza, the silence from Russia is deafening.


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