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Putin’s masked pleasantries

Mixed reactions characterise Vladimir Putin’s visit to Israel-Palestine, with Palestinians tired of empty words and Russia’s support for Bashar Al-Assad against the Syrian people”

writes Khaled Amayreh in Bethlehem

In a brief visit to Israel-occupied Palestine this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to reassert Russian influence in the region, especially in Israel where more than a million Russian immigrants live.

Putin received a warm welcome from his Israeli hosts who sought to influence the Russian leader’s thinking with regard to the Iranian nuclear programme.

Israeli President Shimon Peres drew analogy between Russia’s fierce resistance to Nazism during World War II and current efforts to stop Iran from enriching uranium and possibly possessing nuclear weapons.

“I am confident that under your leadership Russia will fulfil a key role in restoring security and peace,” he said.

However, it seems the excessive commendations Putin received in Israel failed to change his mind on the basic issues.

He told Israeli leaders that he wouldn’t advise them to carry out a hasty or rash strike on Iran since this would create more problems and complicate an already complicated situation.

Israel, which possesses a huge nuclear arsenal that includes 250-300 nuclear weapons, views Russia and China as “weak links” in the international front against Iran.

In his few and terse public remarks, the Russian president spoke in general terms about “changes in the region” and “the need to make peace”.

“Once again, we see that friendship and warm relations between our people is more than words,” Putin told Peres.

However, according to one Israeli newspaper, the warm handshakes and pleasantries that marked the visit hid a sharp division between the two countries on significant foreign policy issues, such as Iran and Syria.

Putin, who many observers argue has on his hands the innocent blood of many Syrians, thanks to his unwavering support for the Bashar Al-Assad regime, told an equally tainted Israeli president that Russia opposed the extermination of any people, including the Israeli people. (In 1996, Peres in his capacity as prime minister following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin ordered the Israeli army to commit a massacre in the village of Qana in southern Lebanon, murdering more than 100 women and children. He never apologised for the horrific carnage.)

Putin added that he was looking to make peace in the world and the region. “The region and the world are rapidly changing. We need to find ways to work together that will enable every one to live in peace,” he said.

The Russian leader again spoke in general terms following a lengthy meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, saying it was important to resolve ancient conflicts, especially the Palestinian issue.

“We call on all sides to resume negotiations. It is the only way to solve this problem.”

Russia is part of the International Quartet on Middle East Peace, which also includes the US, EU, and the United Nations.

On Monday, Putin was taken directly to Netanya where he participated in the dedication ceremony for a large memorial commemorating the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany.

For his part, Netanyahu asked Putin to make every possible effort to make sure that in the event of the collapse of the Syrian regime, Syria’s purported chemical arsenal won’t find its way into the wrong hands.

As to peace with the Palestinians, the Israeli premier said he was willing and ready to meet with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas at any time and in any place.

The latest phrase, often uttered by Israeli leaders, is widely thought to be a public relations ruse meant to divert attention from phenomenal Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank, which many observers believe has effectively killed any remaining chances for pursuing a meaningful peace process based on the two-state solution formula.

In characteristic prevarication and verbal juggling, Netanyahu told Putin: “The key to peace is complex, but in the end it is very simple. Either President Abbas must come here or I must go to him, and I am willing for either of these possibilities to occur. However, we must begin to talk. I hope you will convey this message when you meet Abbas tomorrow.”

The truth, however, is that Palestinian and Israeli leaders met numerous times over the years, but without making any real progress towards ending the Israeli occupation, which began in 1967. The main reason for this failure stems from Israel’s recalcitrant refusal to give up the spoils of the 1967 war.

Abbas and other Palestinian leaders on Tuesday received Putin in the city of Bethlehem where a gigantic wall erected by Israel is throttling the town, giving it the air of a detention camp.

Putin told his Palestinian hosts that Russia was still supporting endeavours to establish a viable state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

“Russia has no problem recognising a Palestinian state,” Putin told Abbas.

The Russian leader also praised Abbas for his “responsible” position in negotiations with Israel, an allusion to the Palestinian leader’s refusal to resume stalled peace talks with Israel until the latter halts settlement expansion activities.

Abbas surprised Putin by announcing that the city of Bethlehem intended to name one of the town’s streets after him. He was also awarded the Palestinian Authority (PA) Medal of Honour. The PA also refused to allow any demonstration against Putin, particularly protest against Russia’s support and backing of the Assad regime. A solid majority of Palestinians are believed to identify with the Syrian revolution against the minority-Alawite regime in power.

Given Russia’s clear complicity in the Syrian bloodbath, many Palestinians believe Putin stands to be condemned, not commended, for his alliance with the Assad regime.

However, for the Palestinian leadership, whatever happens in Syria must not interfere with the need to put Palestinian interests first.

It is unlikely that Putin’s visit to occupied Bethlehem and occupied Jerusalem will have a far-reaching impact on the basic elements of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where the United States has a virtual monopoly on the so-called peace process.


source: Ahram Weekly

34 Responses to Putin’s masked pleasantries

  1. Ariadna Theokopoulos July 1, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

    “A solid majority of Palestinians are believed to identify with the Syrian revolution against the minority-Alawite regime in power.
    Given Russia’s clear complicity in the Syrian bloodbath, many Palestinians believe Putin stands to be condemned, not commended, for his alliance with the Assad regime.”

    These are the author’s personal opinion and bias, unsupported by any evidence.

    • Laura Stuart July 2, 2012 at 5:20 am #

      Well for yourself and Who-Me everything is crystal clear there are those Palestinians who support Assad and then there are those who don’t but the ones that don’t are Zionists.

    • Somoe July 2, 2012 at 9:11 am #

      I’m glad you wrote that, Ariadna! I too was choking on those parts of this article. I completely agree this is personal opinion and unsubstantiated at that. The sectarian perspective regretably keeps seeping into this writer’s work.

  2. who_me July 1, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    i would put about as much credibility on what chalabi jr writes about putin as i would on what he writes about syria and palestine.

    ie: nil

    if i want to know what jewish zionists want people to think is a palestine view, i’ll read haaretz.

    • Somoe July 2, 2012 at 9:13 am #

      😀 Funny

  3. Laura Stuart July 2, 2012 at 5:07 am #

    2 articles on the Palestinians inside Syria – if the usual suspects don’t write off the articles as zionist propaganda I will be so disappointed.

    PLFP can side with Assad because it is a Marxist Leninist organisation in other words not religious.

    • Jay Knott July 2, 2012 at 7:31 am #

      This article doesn’t really say enough to need much evidence – ‘widely thought’, ‘ are believed’, ‘many observers/Palestinians believe’ etc..

      I’m not quite sure how this makes the article ‘Zionist’. But then, I often fail to grasp the methodology used by more omniscient commenters to figure out what’s going on in the Middle East.

    • pgg804 July 2, 2012 at 7:49 am #

      The New York Times writing Zionist propaganda? The fact that its been owned by the same Jewish family since 1851 shouldn’t lead anyone to question its objectivity and that it treats the Palestinians and Jews completely equally, right? If you believe that I have a bridge I want to sell you.

      In my view the NY Times is Zionist propaganda. Led by the likes of Thomas Friedman and Judith Miller, who was a major contributor to the Iraq WMD claims (now we know they were lies), she also outed Valerie Plame as a CIA agent because Plame was married to Joseph Wilson and Wilson wrote articles questioning all of Miller’s and other NY Times writers claims about Iraq’s so called WMD program (which we now know didn’t exist).

      The NY Times also supports a war against Iran. It never misses an opportunity to attack Iran in its paper.

      • Jay Knott July 2, 2012 at 11:51 am #

        pgg804 – you’ve fallen into the same simplistic binary thinking as the other commentators. I know all the facts you list about the NY Times. None of these facts refute (or confirm) the idea that many of the Palestinians believe that the president of Syria is responsible for much of the bloodshed there, and that the president of Russia supports him, which is what the article tentatively suggests. Neither do they lead to the view that these allegations are true (or false). Nor do they lead to the view that anyone who thinks these Palestinians might be right, is a sucker for Zionism.

        • who_me July 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

          jay knott

          anything that agrees with your fascist pov is a good comment. any comment that doesn’t is wildly speculative. 😀

        • Ariadna Theokopoulos July 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

          By sneering at the “omniscient commentators” and “simplistic binary” thinkers, Jay, you use the same tactic you use to to uphold the Boxcutters’ Conspiracy Theory, namely, you ignore the fact that they (we) are in fact first and foremost SKEPTICS who do not buy unsupported statements made by entities known and proven to be mouthpieces for the zionist agenda .
          Pulling aside the wrapping of your ‘scientific’ and’ logical’ analysis what we find is a rather unexplained siding with the Agenda, quite illogical in places.
          1. NYT is a known pro-Israel platform.
          2. NYT says “X” which is unsupported by evidence.
          The skeptics are very reluctant to buy “X.” You, on the other hand, assume the the ‘neutral’ stance of saying: Maybe X is true, maybe not, it is not conclusively supported by evidence. But there is no proof that it is zionist viewpoint.
          If #1 is true, then X must be a zionist agenda-supporting statement, especially since it is easy to see how it serves the interests of the whole anti-Syria campaign.
          In saying “these Palestinians might be right” you have already shifted the argument to the ASSUMPTION that X is true.
          This statement of yours:
          “Neither do they lead to the view that these allegations are true (or false).” is rather disingenuous.
          “Doesn’t lead to the view”?!?! Really!
          I suppose NYT just throws an unsupported allegation out there, not just any, but a specific one, without the slightest intention to actually “lead to the view”–just chewing the fat, as it were.
          This defense of the NYT zioprop –“look, they said it but they did not mean to actually imply it was, you know,.. “falsifiable” is quite ridiculous.
          But perhaps you hold the view that the statement “NYT promotes the zionist agenda” is not… “supported by evidence, falsifiable,” etc

          • who_me July 2, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

            well said, at.

          • Jay Knott July 2, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

            I didn’t defend a ‘pov’ at all, ‘fascist’ or otherwise. I advocated skepticism. You’re not a sceptic! I have not ‘shifted the argument’ to the view that any particular view, Palestinian or otherwise, is true.

            In the thirties, the Daily Telegraph, a well-known imperialist mouthpiece, made claims about the Moscow Trials in Soviet Russia. The left mostly rejected these claims, using exactly the same ‘logic’ you use regarding the New York Times today. But the Telegraph was right.

          • pgg804 July 2, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

            We know where the NY Times stood regarding those issues too. The NY Times main man in the Soviet Union, Walter Duranty, completely overlooked the Holomodor that killed millions of Ukrainians (the Ukrainian gov’t blames Jews for the Holomodor). He said the reports of mass starvation were “propaganda”.


          • Ariadna Theokopoulos July 2, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

            I didn’t characterize your pdv as ‘fascist.’ You need to read posts more slowly perhaps.
            You do NOT advocate skepticism what you are pushing, on this and on the Boxcutter’s Conspiracy If you did you would not insist that the BC is a plausible explanation, nor that the NYT is not pushing a zionist agenda. What you are pushing is a ‘soft denial’–“there is not enough evidence, etc.”
            How come if you are a skeptic by your own lights you do not DOUBT patently tendentious “news” like what NYT peddles?

            The Moscow Trails example is not a felicitous one. I was going to mention the Holomodor but pgg804 beat me to it. THAT was not mentioend by the Telegraph, although many million of people died as a result of policies implemented by the Jewish heads of the ‘agricultural committee” and the NKVD.
            But the Moscow Trials got quite a bit of play because several jews were executed. Koesler wrote a play–Darkness at Noon–that described the plight of the communist jews fallen under Stalin’s wheels. Several million Goy are an accident not worth the NYT or Telgraph ink but several jews are another matter.

          • Ariadna Theokopoulos July 2, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

            Actually Darkness at Noon was a novel–I just looked it up — and it got pumped up as much as possible:
            “In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Darkness at Noon as eighth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.”

            Amon the 100 best, eh? I suppose it is possible. Depends who’s on the selection committee.

          • pgg804 July 2, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

            Arthur Koestler was one of those great people of which nothing negative could be said. A Hungarian Jew, anti-fascist and communist.

            Koestler was a serial rapist and the British writer Jill Craigie spoke out that she was one of the women raped by Koestler.

            But look at the wikipedia entry on Koestler. They express doubt about everything said regarding these accusations. He is clearly one of their boys. They hold no such doubts regarding Germans or NAZIS, making every accusation imaginable in their entries on those people.

          • Jay Knott July 2, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

            Dead men can’t sue – lucky for you.

          • pgg804 July 2, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

            As you are – for calling Jill Craigie a liar.

          • Jay Knott July 2, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

            Ariadna – one of the commenters said my p.o.v. is ‘fascist’. Are you sure the Telegraph didn’t mention the famine in the Ukraine? Is it online from the 1930s?

            I advocate skepticism re. September 11th. This doesn’t mean rejecting anything a priori. It doesn’t mean your knowing remarks about ‘diabetics in caves’, ‘box cutters’, and ‘passports on molten steel’, accompanied by smiley faces, refute the official explanation.

            I do doubt what the NYT peddles. I am aware of Zionist influence. But binary logic causes brain damage.

          • Ariadna Theokopoulos July 3, 2012 at 12:37 am #

            “one of the commenters said my p.o.v. is ‘fascist’. ”

            That’s not my concern. Deal with it.

            “Are you sure the Telegraph didn’t mention the famine in the Ukraine? Is it online from the 1930s?

            If you found The Moscow Trials, why not find that?

            “I advocate skepticism re. September 11th. This doesn’t mean rejecting anything a priori.”

            Not so. Skpticism arises from rejecting a priori that which does not pass the smell test. For you, however, ‘diabetics in caves’, ‘box cutters’, and ‘passports on molten steel’, and much, much more do not refute the official explanation. So you are certainly not a skeptic.
            Repeating this mantra (which you appear to consider devastating)– “binary logic causes brain damage” — does not make less absurd your claim that it is swallowing the poorly stitched together tale of the Boxcutters that makes one a skeptic.

  4. pgg804 July 2, 2012 at 7:22 am #

    The Palestinians would be stupid to protest against Putin. He appears to be the only leader that believes they have rights too. None of the western leaders defend Palestinian rights. The few obligatory statements they make in their favor are outweighed by their actions (such as Germany giving Israel advanced U Boats that can launch nuclear weapons) and their anti-Arab and Muslim press. Western policy is basically set by Washington which is controlled by Jewish lobbies (AIPAC, ADL, etc.) not to mention the Jewish lobbies each western nation has within its own borders.

    I do not believe Putin has any blood on his hands. He is standing up for international law, which Washington thinks doesn’t apply to it. Washington claims the right to overthrow governments in countries in which the government is attacking its own peopls, but where was Washington when Israel massacred 1,400 Palestinians in 2008-2009? Firmly on the Israeli side, refusing to ask Israel to stop the attack. And there we had a clear cut case as to who started the attack (never mind Israel’s claim that a three year old Palestinian terrorist threw a rock at a defenseless Israeli soldier).

    I do not believe Assad woke up recently and suddenly decided to kill his citizens. The same claim was used as an excuse to topple Gaddafi of Libya and Hussein of Iraq. I’m sure their is fighting going on in Syria and probably both sides are committing wrongs, but you won’t here that in the western press which wants to put all the blame on the Syrian gov’t (Israel’s enemy). There wasn’t any criticism of China for its (mis)treatment of its Uyghur minority when there was unrest in China either. One reason being China would have laughed in the USA’s faces, the other can be seen by Wikipedia’s entry on the incidents. Wikipedia identifies the Uyghurs as Muslims and puts the blame on them for creating the incidents.

    Unfortunately our mainstream press is too biased to be relied upon for news in the middle east. But in any country, when a group of people try to overthrow the government, the government will attempt to crush the revolution and it considers the revolutionaries traitors.

    • Jay Knott July 2, 2012 at 7:36 am #

      A sensible comment which explains how it arrives at its conclusions! It mentions the biases of the Western press, gives examples of recent lies which led to war, and the power of the Jewish lobby. But the author doesn’t claim to be omniscient, nor divide the Middle East into just two sides.

  5. Laura Stuart July 2, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    I doubt any Muslim would have a single postive thought about Putin because of Chechnya.

    There were a lot of international fighters in Chechnya just like there were in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and they are fighting for the establishment of Islam not for what some lame commentators on here believe that they go to die for the Zionist cause.

    The only reason Muslims have gone to fight is to fight western occupation and to establish Islamic states, something they have managed to do repeatedly but an Islamic state is the one thing the U.S./Israel alliance will not tolerate.

    As in Algeria, Somalia, Afghanistan and now Mali.

    • Ariadna Theokopoulos July 2, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

      “I doubt any Muslim would have a single postive thought about Putin because of Chechnya.”

      But by your logic they must love NATO for Kosovo, right?

      • Jay Knott July 2, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

        No, Ariadna, it doesn’t follow at all that Muslims who hate the Russian government because of its crimes in Chechnya love NATO for helping Muslims in Kosovo.

        Only binary-logic morons would believe that.

        Why are you pretending to be one of them? Are you planning to run for office in the USA, or what?

        • Ariadna Theokopoulos July 3, 2012 at 2:24 am #

          1. It is not my logic. You read sloppily again.
          2. Even if I consider that logic defective I don’t cal the people using it morons.

  6. etominusipi July 2, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    in the ‘Metro’ a free newspaper-lookalike bestowed upon users of the rail network in England, there was recently an article about David Beckham not being selected for the English Olympic Soccer Squad. the manager Stuart Pearce (whose brother is a leading light in the BNP) was quoted as saying:

    the Olympics is all about winning

    that has reconfigured my conception of the Olympic ideal. not.

    the propagation of such a foolish and misguided canard exemplifies one of the minor roles of the MSM.

    its unquestioning acceptance by casual readers demonstrates that one of our common human failings is partisanship which leads to the door of the great philosophical school of Usandthemism, whose doyens use the mantra “my country, right or wrong” and similar articulations of brain-dead thought-processes.

    partisanship, which is rife even in the unexciting and trivial bazaar of British party politics, nullifies debate and helps keep peoples’ minds off the activities of the army of cynical and skilful thieves who are quietly loading our cultural valuables into their white Moving Systems pick-up trucks.

    so keep on arguing the toss. keep up this unhealthy fascination with the doings and sayings of so-called ‘political leaders’. keep on insisting that the side you support does no evil, whilst the ‘opposition’ does nothing but.

    what is officially known as ‘illegal’ is merely the tip of a huge iceberg of officially-sanctioned criminality, robbery, embezzlement, nepotism, corruption, lies, distortion, murder, rape, torture, genocide, ethnic cleansing, oppression…

    as the enigmatic ‘Madame Blavatsky’ quoted on the title page of her massive and sprawling compilation The Secret Doctrine

    there is no religion higher than truth

    when was the last football match you attended where a referee was given a standing ovation by the crowd? justice is not merely blindfolded, it is masked from view by its cloak of invisibility. and the ‘cloak’ is actually not so much a cloak – more of a strait-jacket.

    • Ariadna Theokopoulos July 2, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

      Great comment, as always. Loved this too: “justice is not merely blindfolded, it is masked from view by its cloak of invisibility. and the ‘cloak’ is actually not so much a cloak – more of a strait-jacket.

  7. searching July 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    Madame Blavatsky was a satanist and an occultist. I would not take anything coming out of her mouth as the “Truth” .

  8. who_me July 3, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    have you guys seen the new nyts advert? they are claiming they are the world’s most accurate news rag. want to know why? because they were just awarded the coveted jay knott seal of approval.

    now nyt stories can pass as legit news material on anti-zionist websites. mondoweiss will be so pleased. 😉

    • who_me July 3, 2012 at 12:52 am #

      and zum mondoweiss sprechen (excuse my poor deutsch)….um, on second thought, that is part of another discussion.

  9. Blake July 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    At least he visited the PA something our western politicians never do.

  10. Blake July 3, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    By the way they named a street after him in Bethlehem:

    Putin ‘at a loss’ after Bethlehem street named for him: