According to Ambassador Alex Ben Zvi, there have been no major changes in relations between Moscow and West Jerusalem
Israel and Russia may sometimes disagree on various issues but relations between the two countries have seen no major changes and remain “normal,” the Jewish state’s envoy to Moscow, Alex Ben Zvi, said in an interview with newspaper Kommersant.
“There are ups and downs,” the diplomat said, noting that sometimes Israel is dissatisfied with Russia’s position and sometimes vice versa. However, both sides always try to find common ground.
At the same time, Ben Zvi admitted that coming to an understanding “is not always possible,” such as in the case of the recent visit of a Hamas delegation to Moscow.
Last week, several senior representatives of Hamas – a Palestinian militant group that holds control of the Palestinian enclave of Gaza – visited the Russian capital to negotiate the release of hostages and the safe evacuation of Russian and other foreign nationals trapped in Gaza by the ongoing Israeli blockade.
During the visit, the head of the Hamas delegation, Moussa Mohammed Abu Marzouk, said his group would look thoroughly for Russian citizens being held in Gaza and would pay greater attention to requests from Russia. He also praised Moscow for what he called a constructive position on the ongoing escalation.
In response to the visit, the Israeli government called on Moscow to expel the delegation, describing their official visit to Russia an act of support for terrorism and a legitimization of the atrocities committed by Hamas during the October 7 attack on Israeli territory that cost the lives of over 1,400 Israelis.
In his interview with Kommersant, Ben Zvi also insisted that there was no need for Moscow to hold any sort of talks with Hamas. “Our position regarding the hostages is very simple: Hamas must release them. There is no need to conduct any business related to hostages. This is not a business. This is a simple humanitarian approach,” the envoy said.
Moscow has in turn insisted the Hamas delegation did not have any contacts with the Kremlin during its visit and only held talks at the level of the Russian Foreign Ministry. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov noted, however, that Russia believes it necessary to maintain contact with all sides of the conflict and offered a reassurance that Moscow will also continue dialogue with Israel.
November 01, 2023 at 07:47PM