Israel-Palestine Conflict Cannot Be Settled by Military Means – Russian Mission
Russia is very concerned about the escalation of tension on the Israel-Gaza-Strip border and Moscow believes that the use of forces will not lead to the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Aidar Aganin, the head of Russia’s diplomatic mission in Ramallah, Palestine, told Sputnik in an interview.
“We are deeply concerned about this [tension]… It is obvious that the use of military means cannot lead to the solution of problems existing between the sides,” head of Russia’s diplomatic mission in Ramallah Aidar Aganin said.
According to Aganin, Russia as a member the Middle East Quartet continues to take efforts aiming to bring Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiation table even when the peace process is deadlocked.
“I should say that Moscow speaks absolutely sincerely and publicly about the need for an early resumption of the direct dialogue between the Palestinians and Israelis on the basis of relevant international decisions. In this regard, our leadership invited the leaders of Palestine and Israel [to hold a meeting in Russia] to launch such a dialogue without preconditions. The Russian proposal remains ‘on the table,'” the diplomat stated.
The US initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in any case, has to rely on decisions taken by the UN Security Council and the Arab Peace Initiative in order to receive the support of the Palestinians and the international community, Aidar Aganin noted.
“If the US initiative finally appears and at the same time if it is not based on the decisions of the UN Security Council and General Assembly, as well as on the Arab Peace Initiative, it will not be adopted by the Palestinians, as well as by other Arabs. This initiative will not find the support of the most part of the international community as well,” Aganin said.
Aganin did not rule out that this US peace initiative does not exist at all, and thus it is not worth discussing it.
The situation on the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip has significantly deteriorated over the past several months. Since March 30, the Palestinians have been holding mass rallies near the Gaza Strip border, known as the Great March of Return, which has already claimed lives of more than 110 Palestinians, as Israel responded with riot dispersal means.
The tension further escalated on May 14, when over 60 Palestinians were killed and more than 2,700 injured in clashes with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in light of the opening of the US Embassy in the city of Jerusalem. The Israeli forces have been suppressing the demonstrators using lethal weapons, citing security concerns.
On May 29, the IDF said that numerous mortars had been fired from the Gaza Strip at various targets in Israel, with Israel’s Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepting most of them. Soon after the incident, the Israeli aircraft attacked several dozens of targets belonging to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in response to shelling.
Media reports indicated that this exchange of fire was the largest since the latest armed conflict between Israel and Hamas, which took place in 2014.
For decades, Israel has been in conflict with the Palestinians, who have been seeking diplomatic recognition for their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which are partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli government, along with a number of other countries, refuses to recognize Palestine as an independent political and diplomatic entity and continues to build settlements in the occupied areas despite objections from the United Nations.
Russia and the United States have participated as mediators in the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis as part of the Middle East Quartet, which also includes the European Union, and the United Nations. Direct talks on the settlement of the conflict between the parties collapsed in 2014.