President Vladimir Putin met with the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas on Monday, February 12, 2018. And the event was not without consequence.
The two leaders discussed one matter in particular that the Israeli newspaper Haaretz made very clear – the Palestinian leader no longer puts any stock in America as a peace broker in the conflict with Israel. He put it this way:
We state that from now on we refuse to cooperate in any form with the U.S. in its status of a mediator, as we stand against its actions…”
Abbas told Putin at the start of talks in Moscow. He said last week that he hoped Russia could assume a greater role in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, saying the United States “can no longer play a leading role.”
President Putin had an interesting reply. He had been on the phone with President Donald Trump just before, and he had this to say about the phone call:
Naturally we spoke about the Palestinian-Israeli settlement… I would like to convey to you his [President Trump’s] best wishes.
It may look at first glance like the United States goofed up policy-wise here, and so Russia is getting preference. To Mahmoud Abbas, this is probably an attractive thought.
However, if anything, the fact that President Putin talked to President Trump beforehand suggests that perhaps both the Russian Federation and the USA are working together along the same path — that in order for there to a be a real peace settlement reached between Israel and Palestine, the appeasement of both sides must end, and some real dealmaking and compromise must begin.
It seems logical to assume that if Putin thought the USA was irrelevant to this matter, he would not have consulted with the American President, nor would Trump have conveyed his best wishes to Abbas through Putin.