Putin responds to the US “deal of the century”? That’s why Netanyahu came to Moscow


As soon as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was back from the United States, he traveled to Moscow on Thursday. He wanted to know the opinion of President Vladimir Putin on the “deal of the century”. The expert on Israel policy and ex-Knesset MPs, Xenia Svetlowa, suspects domestic political motives in the Sputnik conversation.

It was not long ago that Netanyahu and Putin saw each other for the last time, namely in Jerusalem at the World Holocaust Forum a week ago. But the plan recently presented by US President Donald Trump to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was apparently an occasion for the Israeli President to meet Putin personally.

“We have been negotiating with our American friends and there are a few things I can tell you,” said Netanyahu at the start of the talks with the journalists, adding that Putin was the first head of state to meet with after the Washington visit.

He wanted Putin’s opinion on “Century-Deal” knowledge. He thanked Putin “on behalf of the entire people of Israel” for pardoning Israeli Naama Issachar, who had previously been convicted of drug smuggling in Russia. It is an opportunity that “touches all of us,” said Netanyahu.

For his part, Putin thanked again for the recent reception in Jerusalem and for the attention for the erection of a monument for the defenders of the besieged Leningrad. He also suggested discussing bilateral relations, such as a free trade area between the Eurasian Economic Union and Israel, and humanitarian projects in addition to the situation in the Middle East.

                    Sputnik / Evgeny Biyatov

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting.

The meeting between the two sides lasted about an hour and a half. The results have so far remained hidden from the public. When the journalists impatiently asked whether Putin had supported the “deal”, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskow merely replied that the analysis would continue. Only one source in the Israeli delegation made public that it was a long, deep and thorough discussion of the “deal” and how it affected the region. The two sides also discussed developments in Syria and cooperation in this regard between Russia and Israel.

What does Netanyahu want from Putin?

In a Sputnik discussion, former Mness Knesset MP and political expert at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center, Xenia Svetlowa, did not rule out that the hotly debated initiative was part of the Netanyahu campaign. Svetlowa indicated that Netanyahu had flown to the US before an important Knesset meeting. The Knesset MPs are in the process of examining the Prime Minister’s judicial immunity in connection with allegations of corruption. The waiver of immunity is now extremely disadvantageous for Netanyahu. “For many Israelis, there don’t seem to be any urgent circumstances that would justify their visits to the United States or Russia. Also because the ‘deal of the century’ took shape about a year and a half ago and was postponed again and again, ”says the expert.

                    Sputnik / Evgeny Biyatov

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his wife Sara at a meeting in Moscow

It is also known that Netanyahu and his wife Sara met Issachar and their mother, released, before meeting Putin at Moscow airport. Videos show how warmly they hug.

“In Israel, many believe that Netanyahu’s trip to Moscow had more to do with the release of Issachar from a Russian prison than with the ‘deal of the century,'” Svetlova said.

“The deal is pure American, everything is clear here”

Many Israelis are also aware that Russia traditionally has good relations with Palestine. However, the way the “deal” is written and there is no place for other mediators apart from the US, it is unlikely that Netanyahu would really perceive Russia and Putin as mediators, the expert believes. “The deal is pure American, everything is clear here.” Since Israel currently has a “difficult situation” in the Gaza Strip, the political scientist assumes that Netanyahu sees Putin as an intermediary, at least when contacting Hamas.

Does the “deal of the century” belong in the “trash can of history”?

On Tuesday, Trump presented his peace plan for the Israel-Palestine conflict during a joint press statement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. At the heart of Trump’s message is the two-state solution with Israel and Palestine. Accordingly, in addition to the Jewish state, a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as the capital is to be created. At the same time, Jerusalem should remain “undivided,” Trump said at a long-awaited press conference.

The document was written without the participation of other UN members and was primarily written by his advisor and son-in-law David Kushner, where he primarily considered Israeli interests. “You have proven to be the greatest friend of Israel who has ever been to the White House,” Netanyahu praised the US President.

The economic part of the deal is also based on projects that were to be carried out in the West Bank, Gaza, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. The hoped-for volume of investment is $ 50 billion, which Washington’s Arab Gulf monarchies are expected to award to the Palestinians. The document’s authors also hope for private capital. But no country has already agreed to invest in potential projects in Palestine.

“Jerusalem is not for sale, the ‘Deal of the Century’ is becoming nothing, and our people will throw it in the trash can of history,” responded the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.

The spokesman for the Federal Foreign Office, Christopher Burger, distanced himself from any assessment of Trump’s initiative at the briefing on Wednesday. The government spokesman Steffen Seibert announced that he wanted to take a closer look at the “deal”.

Moscow, on the other hand, reacted very cautiously. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that the UN, the EU, Russia and Palestine should join the talks on the “deal”. One should also note the reactions of the Middle Eastern countries, added Thursday, which have so far been mostly negative. The Foreign Office spokeswoman Maria Sakharova said in turn on Thursday’s briefing that Russia would remain in contact with Israel and Palestine on the issue. The crucial word in the regulatory process belongs to the Palestinians and Israelis themselves, according to Sakharova.


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