PA turns to Mother Russia as counterweight to US-Israel ties

Palestinian Foreign Minister Maliki says the PA is prepared to hold an Abbas-Netanyahu summit, but only if Russia hosts the meeting.

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News 

In the aftermath of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement on imposing Israeli law on Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and in anticipation of the U.S. publication of its “Deal of the Century” for Israeli-Palestinian peace, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is seeking help from the international community to counter the strong relationship between the Israeli leader and U.S. President Donald Trump.

“If the two-state solution is being eliminated and he [Netanyahu] is going to annex the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], then the response should not be exclusively Palestinian, but the response should be [a] collective response from the international community,” stated PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, as quoted by the Russian Sputnik news agency in an interview published Monday.

“We have reiterated our readiness and our willingness to President [Vladimir] Putin that any time that he believes there is readiness on the Israeli side we will be more than ready to come and sit and have talks with Netanyahu in the presence of President Putin,” Maliki said.

“We are ready to talk with Israelis without any conditions,” he added, “as long as the invitation comes from President Putin, as long as President Putin is the host, the one who will create the best conditions for a meeting to take place and for a meeting to be successful.”

Maliki noted that Netanyahu’s comments on extending Israeli law to sections of Judea and Samaria were made in the context of the recent Israeli election campaign, indicating that he believed the pledge would not necessarily be carried out.

However, it came soon after President Trump recognized Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights, captured by the Jewish State from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War, and following the U.S. president’s December 2017 declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

After President Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, which was followed by the move of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the PA announced that it was breaking off diplomatic contacts with Washington.

According to reports, the U.S. peace plan would keep almost all of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, with the exception of various Arab neighborhoods. The Washington Post has reported that the plan drops the idea of a Palestinian State.

On Saturday, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said that the plan “won’t amount to anything.”

Maliki said that the PA would reject any resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that “fails to recognize Palestine as an independent state,” reported Sputnik.

As part of its effort to counter the close U.S-Israel relationship, PA leaders have agreed to a Abbas-Netanyahu summit meeting if Russia is the facilitator, and not the Americans.

In February, Abbas told Sputnik: “I have agreed many times to [Russian] President Putin’s offer to hold a trilateral meeting in Moscow. We trust President Putin, and we’re ready to accept his invitation at any time.”

Abbas argued, however, that “Netanyahu always evades these meetings.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has warned that the U.S. peace plan would destroy any achievements already reached by the Palestinians.

Prime Minister Netanyahu maintains close ties with President Putin, though their contacts are seen as centering on the Syrian conflict.