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June 24, 2016 / 18 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Moscow’

In Netanyahu Meeting with Putin Tuesday Syria on the Table, But Not Iran

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to hold talks on Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, on a state visit to Moscow marking the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries. This is the second meeting between the two leaders in Moscow in the past month and a half, and the fourth over the past year. Netanyahu only met once with President Obama over the same period of time.

Speaking on Monday at a ceremony commemorating the Six-Day War, Netanyahu noted that the hostile Arab armies that circled Israel back in 1967 were “armed, trained, supplied and supported by the Soviet Union.” He added quickly: “Look what a tremendous difference there is nowadays. Russia is a world superpower and the relations between us are getting ever tighter. I’m laboring over tightening this connection and it serves our national security these days, and it has prevented needless, dangerous confrontations on our northern border.”

It could be said that Israel is experiencing its best relationship with Russia on record, with the volume of trade, tourism, security and political coordination at a peak—much of it credited to Avigdor Liberman’s stint as foreign minister. But there are obvious areas where Russia is not coming across as a friend of the Jewish State, if anything, it appears to be leading and supporting Israel’s most vehement enemies — Iran with its proxies, and the Palestinians.

The Russians are supplying Iran with advanced S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile systems, and are in the process of selling the Iranians many more weapons, because the Iranians can now afford it, their multi-billion dollar accounts having been restored by the Obama-Kerry team.

The Russians are fighting in Syria alongside Hezbollah, and are facilitating—actively or tacitly—the leakage of weapons, advanced and otherwise, from Syria into south Lebanon, where they will some day be used against Israel.

In 2015-16 the Russians have spearheaded several critical anti-Israel UN votes: they supported the Egyptian proposal to impose UN supervision on Israel’s nuclear facilities; they’ve been voting regularly with the anti-Israel majority at the UN Human Rights Council; they supported the Palestinian proposal to create a blacklist of companies that trade with the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria; and they’ve supported the shameful UNESCO resolution that removed all trace of recognizing a Jewish presence in Jerusalem.

So perhaps the friendship between the two countries could get a little friendlier.

According to the Kremlin press service, Putin and Netanyahu are going to have a detailed exchange of opinion on the Middle East regional issues, with special emphasis on the struggle with international terrorism. The agenda will be expansive, says the Kremlin, “since relations between Russia and Israel are at an advanced stage and have the character of partnership.”

Russian Ambassador to Israel Alexander Shein told TASS that the two sides plan to sign an agreement on pensions to Russian-born Israelis who did not keep their Russian citizenship after emigrating from the former USSR. A Russian good will gesture in this case would go a long way to boost Netanyahu’s promise to his new coalition partner Liberman, who conditioned the move into government on an increase in those pensions.

There is certainly a renaissance in Russian-Israeli ties: since the year 2000 Israeli Prime Ministers have made thirteen visits to Russia, Netanyahu accounting for seven of those visits. Putin visited Israel once during the same period.

JNi.Media

Netanyahu Heads for Official Visit to Moscow

Monday, June 6th, 2016

For the fourth time in less than year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is heading to the Kremlin on Wednesday for an official visit to Moscow.

Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to mark the 25th anniversary of the restoration of Israel’s diplomatic ties with Russia.

The invitation for the visit was announced by a spokesperson for the Russian government on May 13. Netanyahu had traveled to Moscow in April for a short briefing with Russian leaders the day before the start of Passover.

During that visit, the two men discussed Russia’s advanced weapons sales to Iran, the situation in Syria, continued coordination between the military forces of the two nations in Syria, a discussion about the peace efforts in the country, and prevention of advanced weapons access for the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group.

Israel’s top military advisers accompanied Netanyahu that day, as did then-Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who was born in Ukraine.

Hana Levi Julian

Russians Support Keeping Some Settlements Intact in Peace Negotiations

Saturday, June 4th, 2016

A Russian state news agency TASS story in the wake of the Friday Paris Conference for peace, quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov who advocated concrete territorial exchanges between Israel and the Arabs in Judea and Samaria, in order to preserve Israeli settlements. “The border should be established between Israelis and Palestinians,” Bogdanov said, adding, “This border may envisage territorial exchanges, appropriate and adequate, taking into account that such an approach allows to resolve the problem of Israeli settlements on the West Bank.”

The Deputy Foreign Minister stressed that Israeli settlements “may remain in some regions with the understanding that in exchange for territories with Israeli settlements, Palestinians will get an appropriate compensation in the form of parts of the territory. This is a so-called territorial exchange.”

It should be noted in this context that Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman in the past advocated handing over to the Palestinian State the Israeli cities of the Arab Triangle, such as Um El Fahm and Tira — a suggestion that caused an uproar and accusations of racism.

Following the Paris international conference on a peace deal between Israel and the Arabs, in which 29 nations as well as the UN and EU participated, but Israel did not, Bogdanov, the Russian president’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa, told TASS that the conference had been “useful. We still need to analyze the content of the Paris discussion; study the final document and then see what can be done, by using common approaches, to promote a sustainable negotiating process between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” Bogdanov said. He recommended that both sides assess the conference’s results, and promised that “We are going to have contacts at a very high level with both sides.”

Signaling the Russians’ intense interest in remaining involved in the process, TASS on Friday ran five different stories involving Mikhail Bogdanov and the peace agreement. According to the diplomat, Moscow is prepared to host negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli representatives. “Of course, we will be prepared to do this, if there is the wish and readiness of the two parties — Israelis and Palestinians — to have a meeting… if they wish to meet in Moscow, we are prepared to host them.”

In another story, Bogdanov lamented the fact that the split among the Palestinians hampers progress in the Middle Eastern settlement. “This problem should be resolved as a priority task so that Palestinians present a single and united delegation at the talks on the final status,” Bogdanov advised.

He also promised that “Russia fully supports efforts to restore inter-Palestinian unity on the basis of the PLO and Arab Peace Initiative.” He suggested a “dialogue with representatives of the whole range of Palestinian forces, first of all Fatah and Hamas, in the interest of achieving appropriate agreements.”

It was not easy to asses whether the high-ranking diplomat was being naïve or cynical, but it appears that he is promoting peace between Hamas and the Jews it has sworn to annihilate. In fact, Bogdanov is serious about preventing the next clash between Israel and Hamas:

“The exchange of strikes between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza in early May of this year that became the biggest since the ceasefire agreement was reached in August 2014 is another confirmation of a well-known point, which is that the recurrence of confrontation is not ruled out without solving the enclave’s problems, lifting the blockade imposed on it and restoring its infrastructure destroyed by Israel, including in the summer of the year before last,” Bogdanov said.

He did not mention that those clashes in May erupted when IDF bulldozers were crossing a few yards into Gazan territory to demolish Hamas terror tunnels that lead into Israel. Hamas was unhappy to see its work being destroyed, and so their snipers shot at IDF soldiers to shoo them away.

JNi.Media

Moscow Confirms Official Netanyahu Visit Set for June 7

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to fly to Moscow next month on an official state visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic ties with Russia.

“The visit of Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled for June 7,” a spokesperson told RIA Novosti. The date was confirmed Friday (May 13) by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, according to Sputnik News.

Netanyahu traveled to Moscow for a short briefing with Russian leaders on the day before the start of the Passover holiday (April 21).

The prime minister was accompanied by top military and defense leaders who met with their Russian counterparts during the visit.

Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Russian-Israeli cooperation in Syria and in a number of other areas. The two leaders also discussed the Israel-Palestinian Authority conflict as well as other regional issues.

Hana Levi Julian

Moscow Does Not Believe in Shawarma

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

The Moscow authorities want to remove all shawarma kiosks from the city’s streets, Alexei Nemeryuk, head of the city’s trade and services department, told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper on Tuesday. “We are removing shawarma from the streets,” Nemeryuk said. “There will be no shawarma anymore.” Nemeryuk explained that he plans to refuse the renewal of leases to all the stalls selling shawarma.

Nemeryuk hates the Moscow shawarma because, as he says, repeated checks carried out by Russia’s consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor have revealed “the absence of any desire of the owners of kiosks to bear even the slightest costs” to comply with sanitary regulations.

The Moscow municipality demolished many shawarma kiosks in February and in December.

That was Tuesday morning. A little later on the same Tuesday, Nemeryuk released a statement saying it was all a big misunderstanding, due to “technical problems.”

“The question was about one particular stall with shawarma, which is standing in some place. The residents complained. There is no ban on shawarma, it is sold, it is [sold] in restaurants, too,” Nemeryuk told the Dozhd television channel.

Shawarma is a Mediterranean meat preparation, where lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, or veal are placed on a vertical spit and are grilled for the entire business day. Shavings are cut off the block of meat for serving, and the remainder is kept heated on the rotating spit. Shawarma can be served on a plate or as a sandwich or wrap, like the Turkish döner kebabs and Greek gyros.

David Israel

Russia Refusing to Deliver S-300 Missiles to Syria, But Iran Gets Hers Ahead of Schedule

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Russia is not going to deliver the S-300 air defense missile systems to Syria, according to Alexander Fomin, head of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS), who spoke to the press on Tuesday, TASS reported.

“There are no such plans as of today,” Fomin said, in response to a question regarding Russian negotiations with the Assad regime on selling them the missile systems.

Meanwhile, according to Fomin, Russia is already supplying the S-300 missile systems to Iran—ahead of schedule—and is in talks with Tehran on purchases of additional military equipment. “We have contracts with Iran, other contracts are also possible, but the talk is only about the permitted supplies, which are not on the UN’s ban list.”

On April 11, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in a radio interview with Ekho Moskvy that Russia had started deliver of S-300 systems to Iran, with the deal to be completed by the end of the year. “We are acting in strict compliance with the contract. They pay, we sell. We have already started. It is a supply in full sets,” he said.

Russia and Iran signed a contract in 2007 for the supply of five S-300PMU-1 battalions, but then, in 2010, then-President Dmitry Medvedev banned the supply of the systems to Tehran, following a deal with Israel which compensated Russia by promising not to compete with Russian natural gas in Europe. The Iran contract, worth more than $800 million, was annulled and the paid advance was returned to Iran, which filed a $4 billion lawsuit against Russia at the Geneva Court of Arbitration. That suit has now been cancelled.

The S-300 system was developed to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles for the Soviet Air Defense Forces. Subsequent variations were developed to intercept ballistic missiles. It is regarded as one of the most potent anti-aircraft missile systems currently in operation. An evolved version of the S-300 system, the S-400, entered limited service in 2004.

In 2014, the Syrian government requested Moscow to supply the S-300 air defense missile systems to the Syrian army in anticipation of “a possible US attack” on Syria.

According to a source in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida, Russia received intelligence from Israel a year ago that Tehran had violated an agreement with Moscow not to pass on advanced Russian-made weaponry to the terror group Hezbollah, its proxy in Lebanon. President Putin was handed intelligence from Israel showing that Iran had supplied Hezbollah with Russian-made SA-22 surface-to-air missile systems.

According to Al Jarida, Russia confirmed this information with surveillance flights over Lebanon and Syria, using their own anti-missile radars to detect the systems which had been moved to Lebanon.

David Israel

Netanyahu Meets With Putin in Moscow 1 Day Before Passover

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Moscow Thursday morning for a quick pre-Passover meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

According to the prime minister’s office, on the agenda were advanced weapons sales to Iran, and the situation in Syria, continued coordination between the military forces of the two nations in Syria, a discussion about the peace efforts in the country, and prevention of advanced weapons access for the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group.

During his visit to Moscow last month, President Reuven Rivlin asked Putin to help re-establish the presence in the Golan Heights, between Israel and Syria, of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force. The reason: a developing vacuum is making it easier for Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies to infiltrate the former no-man’s-land and set up a base for attacks against the Jewish State.

Rivlin told Putin that such activity was a red line for Israel, according to Channel 2 news. Putin extended an invitation to Netanyahu to visit Moscow during that visit with Rivlin.

Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin, born in Ukraine, accompanied the prime minister. Other members of the delegation included Israel Air Force Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel, National Security Council Director Avriel Bar Yosef, Military Secretary to the Prime Minister Col. Eliezer Toledano and the head of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-meets-with-putin-in-moscow-1-day-before-passover/2016/04/21/

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