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Lavrov urges Israel not to forget rules of war in fight to 'destroy Hamas'

The Russian foreign minister noted that he is aware that the Americans urge the Israeli leadership to minimize civilian consequences

SKOPJE, December 1. /TASS/. Russia is aware of Israel’s intent to fight until Hamas is destroyed, but one must play by the rules of war, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

"We hear the statements of the Israeli leadership that they will not stop until they destroy Hamas. I will not delve into details how the experts met this, and how professional military personnel comment on this, but one must remember that the rules of war still exist, I think," the foreign minister said, speaking at a press conference after the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Skopje.

The Minister cited statistics saying that over 6,000 children and over 4,000 women were killed in Gaza.

"We categorically condemned the October 7 terrorist attack, but we also categorically cannot agree that any means, including the grossest violations of international law, can be used to combat terrorism," Lavrov said, underscoring that this position is shared by almost all countries that care about this region.

The foreign minister noted that he is aware that the Americans urge the Israeli leadership to minimize civilian consequences.

"This is probably the least that could be done," he said.

He recalled that Russia attempted to take this a step further in the UN Security Council and proposed to declare a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza; however, the US blocked this initiative, as well as a similar initiative, proposed by Brazil. The draft resolution, introduced to the General Assembly by Arab states, was weaker and only called for a humanitarian truce.

"The next resolution was once again proposed to the UN Security Council by Brazil, but we had to abstain, because it was weaker than the position of the General Assembly," the Minister said.

Lavrov underscored that Russia has always been interested in ensuring Israel’s security, which, in his words, "is in a very vulnerable position."

"The root of this vulnerability lies in the fact that the UN Security Council resolution on establishing the Palestinian state has not been implemented. The Palestinian state within 1967 borders with the capital in East Jerusalem, which would coexist in peace and security with Israel and all other neighbors’," the Minister underscored.

The foreign minister also noted the 2002 Arab initiative, proposed by former Saudi King Abdullah. The initiative provides for founding a Palestinian state and concurrently establishing peaceful relations between Arab countries and Israel.

"One would think this is a feasible path to a stable, sustainable situation in this long-suffering land. But we have not been able to achieve that yet," Lavrov lamented.