NewsIsrael responds to Russia over disturbing Hamas visit

Israel responds to Russia over disturbing Hamas visit

Israel has started continuous bombing of the Gaza Strip and threatened a ground invasion to defeat the group of fighters ruling the Palestinian territory.
Israel has started continuous bombing of the Gaza Strip and threatened a ground invasion to defeat the group of fighters ruling the Palestinian territory.
Images source: © Getty Images | Alexi Rosenfeld

11:55 AM EDT, October 30, 2023

Israel expressed discontent over the visit that representatives of the Palestinian political-military organization, Hamas, undertook to the Kremlin last week. Consequently, on Sunday, the Israeli government summoned the Moscow representative in Jerusalem to an urgent meeting seeking explanations. This criticism is not only directed towards the visit but also at "Russia's conduct in international forums."

Last week, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs dispatched a significant communication to the Russian Ambassador Anatolij Viktorov. The diplomat was invited to the ministry due to Israel's dissatisfaction with recent Russian actions.

Particularly perturbing was the information about the Kremlin's reception last week welcoming a Hamas delegation. The Israelis were aggrieved due to the perception that through this meeting, Russia was aligning itself with an entity that had orchestrated an attack on their country earlier this year, on October 7th.

The strife in the Gaza Strip continues unabated. Following an attack by Hamas militants who kidnapped over 200 hostages, Israel launched a retaliatory siege. Tragically, the conflict has resulted in fatalities on both sides.

Three weeks of warfare have caused the deaths of thousands of Israeli citizens and Gaza Strip residents. The conflict has also spilled into neighboring Lebanon, displacing 29,000 people, as confirmed by the UN, due to clashes between the Israeli and Palestinian forces.

Israel Calls for Russia's Ambassador

"Russia's ambassador to Israel, Anatolij Viktorov, was asked to report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem this morning regarding the Hamas delegation's visit to Moscow," the ministry disclosed. The official statement also revealed that Ambassador Simona Halperin, Deputy Director of the Eurasia Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, conveyed to Viktorov Israel's stern view of Moscow's ambiguous and insincere condemnation of Hamas.

In the statement, it was also noted that Halperin expressed her unhappiness regarding "Russia's conduct in international forums." "Welcoming Hamas leaders, directly responsible for the October 7th attack, involving hostage-taking and leading to more than 1,400 Israeli casualties, suggests a legitimization of terrorism against Israelis," the Israeli diplomat stated.

On Thursday, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged the arrival of the Hamas delegation in Moscow. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, stated that the Palestinian group had arrived to discuss the release of foreign hostages held in Gaza, including Russians.

Earlier, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov shared updates about discussions with Hamas' political leadership in Qatar regarding the hostages. He mentioned that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is slated to visit Moscow shortly for talks with Vladimir Putin.

Currently, Hamas holds 224 people hostage in the Gaza Strip. According to Israeli government information, 138 of these hostages hold foreign passports. The captives include at least six Russians, 54 Thais, 15 Argentinians, 12 Americans, 12 Germans, and 6 French citizens.

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