Putin blasts Israel’s ‘disrespect of status-quo’ in call with Abbas

Putin phones Palestinian leader to express disapproval of Israel’s actions on Temple Mount as fallout from Lapid’s statement about Russian “war crimes” grows.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

On the heels of a strongly worded letter to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett demanding that Israel transfer ownership of a church compound in Jerusalem to Russia, President Vladimir Putin phoned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to slam the Israeli security forces’ recent actions on the Temple Mount.

According to a report from Russian state-owned news agency RIA, Putin discussed a number of subjects with Abbas.

As global food prices soar due to inflation, with the supply chain crisis sparked by the COVID pandemic and the war in Ukraine, Putin reportedly told Abbas that Palestinians will enjoy unfettered access to “Russian wheat, materials, and crops.”

PA-owned state news agency Wafa said that “Putin stressed Russia’s firm position in support of the rights of the Palestinian people, and that Russia will continue to …support…the Palestinian cause in all international forums.”

Wafa reported that Putin expressed his disapproval of Israel’s large-scale arrests of violent rioters on the Temple Mount, saying that he did not agree with “the Israeli practices that prevent worshippers from freely accessing the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Putin also was said to have criticized Israel for not “respecting the existing historical status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem.”

Moscow has long maintained warm ties with the PA. Dozens of Palestinians in Bethlehem staged a modest pro-Putin rally in Bethlehem’s central square at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

After Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid slammed Putin for committing “war crimes” in Ukraine, in a major departure from Israeli government policy of remaining neutral during the conflict, Russia fired back with a harsh statement.

“The Israeli Foreign Minister’s statements evoke regret and rejection,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

“There was a poorly camouflaged attempt to take advantage of the situation in Ukraine to distract the international community’s attention from one of the oldest unsettled conflicts — the Palestine-Israeli one,” the ministry claimed.