MOSCOW, November 1. /TASS/. Russia’s ambassador to Tel Aviv Anatoly Viktorov has said that during a conversation at the Israeli Foreign Ministry he gave clear explanations about Hamas representatives’ visit to Moscow.
"The other day I was invited to the Israeli Foreign Ministry for an explanatory conversation. We gave clear explanations. I said that the reception of Hamas representatives did not mean support for the terrorist methods that some of the militants of this organization use. We are being blamed for some kind of support for terrorism, but this is not true at all. I said outright said that we do not support either Hamas or any other group, or any other political forces. We support a just settlement of the Palestinian issue," Viktorov said on the Rossiya-24 TV channel.
He pointed out that any contacts of the Russian side with all political forces that have influence on the situation in the region were absolutely justified at least from the humanitarian point of view.
On October 29, the press service of the Israeli Foreign Ministry said that the Russian ambassador in Tel Aviv had been handed a protest against the visit of a delegation of the Palestinian radical organization Hamas to Moscow.
Hamas delegation’s visit to Moscow
On October 26, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Hamas representatives are on a visit to Moscow. The Hamas delegation met with Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, the special presidential representative for the Middle East and Africa. Russia discussed the release of hostages and the evacuation of Russians from the Gaza Strip.
Israel strongly condemned the visit and demanded that Moscow immediately expelled Hamas representatives from the country. The official statement of the Israeli Foreign Ministry said that Israel considered the invitation of Hamas leaders to Moscow as "an obscene step that gives support to terrorism and legitimizes the atrocities of Hamas terrorists."
The Russian embassy in Tel Aviv described the attempts to accuse Russia of supporting terrorism in the context of Moscow's contacts in the Middle East as absolutely unacceptable. In an official commentary the embassy said that Russia condemned violence against civilians in any form and from any side.
As the embassy stressed, Russia's contacts and actions in the Middle East region and in international organizations were focused "first and foremost on the immediate release of hostages in the Gaza Strip, as well as the resolution of issues related to ensuring the evacuation of Russian and other foreign citizens."
Escalating tensions in Middle East
Tensions flared up again in the Middle East on October 7 when militants from the radical Palestinian group Hamas staged a surprise attack on Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip, mass killings of civilians in Israeli border communities and the taking of more than 200 hostages, including children, women and elderly people. Hamas described its operation as a response to the aggressive actions of Israeli authorities against the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. Israel has declared a total blockade of the Gaza Strip and carried out air strikes on the Palestinian enclave, as well as some areas of Lebanon and Syria. Clashes are also underway in the West Bank.
According to the latest data, on the Israeli side, more than 1,400 people fell victim to the conflict and more than 5,200 thousand were injured. As a result of Israeli strikes on Gaza, according to the enclave’s Ministry of Health, more than 8,000 Palestinians were killed and 19,000 wounded.