Russia: Hamas and Hezbollah are not terrorist organizations

The Russian ambassador to Israel said that, although Russia condemns rocket fire against Israel, it does not consider Hamas and Hezbollah to be terror organizations. 

Russia’s ambassador to Israel Alexander Shein said that Russia does not consider Hamas and Hezbollah to be terrorist organizations, during an interview on June 9 with Israel’s Russian language TV station, Channel 9.

“We do not consider these organizations to be terrorist,” Shein said, according to a translation provided by Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). “You equate ISIS [with Hamas and Hezbollah], but we think this is wrong.”

The ambassador recognized that both were “radical organizations, which sometimes adhere to extremist political views.”

“Let me explain why we do not, and cannot, designate them as terrorist organizations,” Shein told the interviewer. “Russian law (according to) the Supreme Court, following an appeal by the prosecution, defines terrorist organizations as such when they intentionally conduct acts of terror in Russian territory, or against Russian interests abroad (such as) installations, embassies, offices, or citizens.”

The interviewer challenged the ambassador with regards to Russia’s apparently turning a blind eye to Hamas’ terrorist acts, most significantly during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

“When rockets were fired at Tel Aviv a few years ago, and people were forced to run for shelter, it was indiscriminate [fire], which did not distinguish between Russian, Israeli, or other passports,” the interviewer noted. “They all faced the same rocket fire.”

Shein responded by stressing that, although Russia condemns such firing of rockets “we do not consider them to be terrorists at all.”

Both Hamas and Hezbollah have received Iranian backing and financial support. Iran is one of several Middle Eastern countries with close ties to Moscow. Several months ago, Russia expressed its opposition to the Trump administration’s classification of Iran as the “number one terrorist state.”

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News