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Russia Praises ‘West Jerusalem’ For Not Joining ‘Hysteria’ Over Poisoning Of Former Spy

In a peculiar move, Russia’s Embassy in Israel over the weekend released a statement praising “West Jerusalem” for not being drawn into what it described as anti-Moscow hysteria following the poisoning of former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Great Britain. “The embassy notes with concern attempts undertaken by the government of the United Kingdom and supported by some other foreign nations and a number of media outlets to draw Israel into [a] political and propagandistic campaign,” the statement read, adding that “against this background, the embassy takes into consideration the wise position of West Jerusalem, declared in the statement of the Foreign Ministry of Israel.” In the referenced communiqué, the Israeli government explained that it “views with gravity” the incident in question and “condemns it vigorously,” however, notably, the missive was only two sentences long and did not specifically mention Russia. Israel’s limited response is being construed as an example of the Jewish state’s delicate political balancing act between the West and Russia, which has become the major player in Syria since intervening in the war in 2015. Israel has thus become dependent on Moscow to rein in Iran, whose forces have long fought on behalf of the Assad regime in Syria and which is attempting to secure a permanent military foothold in the country. Specifically, Israel relies on Russia to provide it with freedom of action in Syrian airspace in order to conduct strikes against convoys transferring advanced weapons to Hizbullah in Lebanon and, increasingly, to target military infrastructure being built by the Islamic Republic. Last year, Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced that it “views west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” the first-ever such recognition by a global power, some eight months prior to the U.S. declaration. The latest mention of Israel’s capital therefore likely represents Moscow’s quo to Israel’s quid, a gesture by the Kremlin in acknowledgment of the Israeli government’s precarious diplomatic position.

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