Is Russia full-on supporting Hamas?

Al-Monitor | 11/20/2018 | Staff
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While Hamas seeks to further develop regional relations with countries such as Egypt, Iran, Qatar, Turkey and Lebanon in light of the organization's deteriorating ties with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Syria, the Gaza-based group is also making efforts to improve its international relations with Russia, the EU, Malaysia and South Africa.

While the United States has pressured some nations not to communicate with Hamas, some countries, including Russia, continue their communication channels with the movement to ensure their position in the region.

Ambassador - Israel - Anatoly - Viktorov - Times

Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov told the Times of Israel on Nov. 9 that Russia does not view Hamas a terrorist group, but consider it part of Palestinian society. “We are keeping contacts with Hamas,” he added, saying the group “is a legitimate political force in Palestine.”

Viktorov said labeling Hamas as a terrorist group undermines the political process, suggesting that the movement “should be involved in a possible political solution.” He further said that Israel should engage with Hamas.

Statements - Reasons - First - Ambassador - Tel

These statements are important for two reasons. First, the Russian ambassador is in Tel Aviv and represents the policy of Russia, a permanent UN Security Council member. Second, the statements came from the heart of Israel, which considers Hamas a terrorist organization that engages in armed conflict, the most recent being the Nov. 12-13 escalation between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Husam Badran, a member of Hamas’ political bureau in charge of its international relations who resides in Qatar, told Al-Monitor, “The Russian stance is part of an increasing international conviction of Hamas’ role and importance and its impact on the Palestinian arena. Russia is a major country that realized this fact early on, and it is dealing with us on that basis. The Palestinian cause cannot be settled without our participation or approval. Our relations with...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Al-Monitor
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