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March 23, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10536

Senior Hamas Official On Hamas Delegation Russia Visit: Russia Is 'One Of The Most Important Supporters' Of Palestinian Rights; The U.S. Seeks Calm In The Middle East So It Can Turn Its Attention To Its Disputes With China And Russia

March 23, 2023
Russia, Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 10536

On March 16, 2023, the Hamas website reported that a Hamas delegation headed by senior officials Moussa Abu Marzouq and 'Izzat Al-Rishq had arrived in Moscow for a visit, and that it had met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, who is also Special Representative of the President of Russia for the Middle East and Africa. The meeting took place at Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters.

Russia does not consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization, and its Foreign Ministry officials, such as Deputy Foreign Minister Bogdanov, are in regular contact with the organization. The Hamas delegation's Moscow visit was preceded by many similar Russia visits by Hamas officials in the past few years. These included a senior delegation headed by Hamas political bureau head Isma'il Haniya in September 2022 and his earlier, in March 2020, during which he met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

As in previous visits, Hamas stressed its "right" to carry out terror operations against Israel – aka "resistance to the Israeli occupation by all means" – and expressed support for the policies of the Russian regime.[1]

The following are highlights from media reports about the Hamas delegation's Russia visit:


Photo on left: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Bogdanov (center) with 'Izzat Al-Rishq (left) and Moussa Abu Marzouq (right) (Source: Hamas.ps, March 16, 2023)

According to the announcement on the Hamas website, the meeting discussed developments in the Palestinian issue against the backdrop of "escalation of the crimes of the extreme right-wing Zionist government." The Hamas delegation emphasized its right "to resist the Israeli occupation by all means."[2] The announcement on the Russian Foreign Ministry website stated that during the meeting, Bogdanov had stressed to the delegation members Russia's support for "a just resolution of the Palestinian problem based on the relevant U.S. and Security Council resolutions," and Russia's willingness to help broker an intra-Palestinian reconciliation and a merging of the Palestinian factions "based on the PLO [political] plan."[3]

A source told the Russian news agency Islamnews.ru that as part of their visit to Russia, members of the Hamas delegation will also meet with members of parliament, and that talks will focus on Russia's growing involvement in the Middle East and its efforts to stop the U.S. from maintaining its monopoly on "resolving the Middle East [conflict]" – i.e. the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[4]

Russian state media cited statements by Hamas delegation leader Moussa Abu Marzouq expressing anti-U.S. and anti-West rhetoric and support for Russian foreign policy. For example, after meeting with Foreign Minister Bogdanov, Abu Marzouq called Russia "one of the most important supporters of the actualization of the Palestinian peoples' rights to self-determination and independence." According to him, this visit "differs from past" Hamas delegation visits to Russia, because the "[Special] Military Operation in Ukraine" – the Russian government's term for the war – "has aroused unique confusion in the world and the international system."[5]

Abu Marzouq went on to claim that the current efforts of the U.S., Egypt, and Jordan to calm relations between Israel and the Palestinians are in fact aimed at allowing the U.S. to turn its attention to its conflicts with Russia and China. He said: "The U.S. is striving for calm in the Middle East so it can be freed up for its economic and security struggle against China in in southeast Asia as the first stage, and for a war against Russia from Ukraine as the second stage. However, the tensions in Palestine are delaying that process." He added: "We have no interest in reaching a calm and giving Israel stability in the region. We are seeking to liberate our land and holy places, and [seeking also] the return of our people, and we will not deviate from pursuing this goal. We will continue to resist the occupation until it goes away. These meetings [between representatives of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, mediated by the U.S., Egypt, and Jordan] are completely pointless..."[6]  

 

[2] Hamas.ps, Twitter.com/reshiq_, March 16, 2023.

[3] Mid.ru, March 17, 2023.

[4] Islamnews.ru, March 16, 2023.

[5] Ria.ru, Sputnikarabic.ae, March 18, 2023.

[6] Arabic.rt.com, March 18, 2023.

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