Abbas Seeks Russia’s Backing Over Beit-ul-Moqaddas

Abbas Seeks Russia’s Backing Over Beit-ul-MoqaddasAbbas Seeks Russia’s Backing Over Beit-ul-Moqaddas

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas visited Russia on Monday in a bid to secure Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support following Washington’s recognition of Beit-ul-Moqaddas as Israel’s capital.

The Palestinian leader’s visit to Moscow came two weeks after a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, AFP reported.

Abbas has refused any contact with US President Donald Trump’s administration since Washington’s recognition of Beit-ul-Moqaddas as the Israeli capital at the end of last year. Abbas is due to speak at the United Nations Security Council on February 20.

Palestinians see the US decision, which broke with years of international diplomacy, as a denial of their claim to East Beit-ul-Moqaddas as the capital of an eventual Palestinian state.

Israel took control of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, annexed it and later declared it the indivisible capital of Israel.

A resounding majority of United Nations member states declared Trump’s move as “null and void” in a non-binding resolution. 

The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has accused Abbas of lacking the courage needed to forge a peace deal with Israel.

Abbas in turn has rejected any mediation by Washington in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has promised his people to work towards full recognition of a Palestinian state by the United Nations.

Alexander Shumilin, a Middle East scholar at the Institute for US and Canadian Studies, called Abbas’s visit “an attempt to cosy up to Russia, a consistent ally, and to stop Netanyahu leading Moscow astray during an improvement in Russia-Israeli ties”.

In 2016 Russia offered to host one-on-one talks without preconditions between Abbas and Netanyahu but these never materialized.

Palestinian statehood is recognized by more than 130 countries.

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