Israel Palestine Conflict

Russia can play crucial role in settling conflict with Israel: Hamas official

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Palestinian militant group Hamas believes that Russia can play a key role in ending the military conflict with Israel, said Ali Baraka, the head of external relations for the group.

“The Hamas movement has a high level of trust in Russia and its President Vladimir Putin, so we will welcome Russian mediation in resolving the conflict,” Baraka told Russian state news agency TASS.

“We are interested in ending the civilians’ suffering, caused by Israel’s bombing and brutal blockade of the Gaza Strip, as soon as possible,” he added.

The Hamas official said the group’s leadership was in constant contact with Moscow. “We are ready for possible meetings with Russian diplomats in one of the Arab countries and we welcome their efforts,” he stated.

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The militant group highly appreciated Putin’s stance, according to Baraka who said: “We follow the Russian leader’s statements in which he assesses regional developments. We follow the Russian leader’s statements in which he assesses regional developments.”

“For the Palestinians, Russia’s voice in their defense and Moscow’s demands to stop aggression, lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip and resume humanitarian aid deliveries are crucial,” Baraka stressed.

Putin had said on Friday that Russia could help with a Palestinian-Israeli settlement as it had ties with both sides of the conflict. “Russia could do it. That’s because we have had good relations with Israel over the past 15 years, absolutely right. And traditional relations with Palestine. So, no one will suspect us of wanting to do someone’s bidding,” he said, as cited by TASS.

The Russian President said Moscow would help mediate if there’s demand for it. “The only way to do this is based on agreement between the [two] sides.”

Putin added: “It is necessary to find these tools, this way out of the situation. In my opinion, it can, of course, be achieved as a result of some mediation efforts. We have - I have already mentioned this many times - many fellow Russians, former citizens of the Soviet Union and Russia, living in Israel. This factor is real for us, of course. We cannot forget about it. But, on the other hand, we also have had very good relations with the Arab world - for many years, decades. And first of all, of course, with Palestine, which was once promised that a Palestinian state would be created, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Israel has pledged to wipe out Hamas in retaliation for the militant group’s unprecedented incursion into Israeli towns backed up with a barrage of rockets. Israel responded to the surprise attack with a total siege around the Gaza Strip and bombarded the enclave with an unparalleled barrage of air strikes. Thousands have died and scores more were injured among Palestinians and Israelis.

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