Hamas Leader Invited To Moscow, As Kremlin Seeks Greater Involvement In Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Hamas leader Ismael Haniyyeh was set to arrive in Moscow Thursday, as the Kremlin seems to be wading into the Palestinian political foray that traditionally is the turf of the United States. The news comes after The Media Line confirmed that Nabil Sha’ath, a senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and Hussein al-Sheikh, a member of the Central Committee of Abbas’ ruling Fatah faction who is responsible for overseeing reconciliation talks with rival Hamas, both traveled to Russia this week. The Palestinians have been internally divided since Hamas ousted Fatah from the Gaza Strip in a 2007 internecine war, with numerous subsequent diplomatic efforts having failed to bridge the gap. Moscow has in the past hosted several rounds of these talks, and it appears that the groundwork is being laid for another go. Additionally, Russian President Vladimir Putin repeatedly has offered to host a peace summit to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table, which surely came up in discussions with the PA officials. Some analysts believe that Abbas dispatched his emissaries with a view to solidifying Russian support ahead of the roll-out of President Donald Trump’s highly-anticipated peace plan, which Ramallah has rejected out-of-hand. The PA imposed a boycott on American officials when the Trump administration in December recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and might be looking to Russia to help counter the White House initiative.