Russia’s stance on Israel’s annexation move

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the country’s parliament on May 17 that the time had come to extend national sovereignty to the Palestinian territories in the Jordan Valley, the historical place from where the Jewish people had emerged. Russia is calling on Israel to prevent regional tensions from escalating, Izvestia wrote.

According to Sergei Melkonyan from the Institute for Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Netanyahu’s decision to annex the Jordan Valley is not an attempt to divert the public’s attention from his upcoming trial and the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The prime minister has secured the coalition government’s support on the matter and won’t face any trouble as far as lawmakers are concerned, the expert noted.

Russia sees no alternative to resolving the Middle East issue other than through political means and has urged Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table, Chairman of the Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev told the paper. Moscow won’t support the EU’s plans to impose sanctions on Israel for the seizure of Palestinian territories. Only the UN Security Council has the right to introduce restrictions, the senator pointed out.

The Israeli prime minister's statement sparked a vigorous international response. King Abdullah II of Jordan warned in an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel that if Israel annexed part of the Jordan Valley, a large-scale conflict could break out.

However, an armed conflict with Israel is unlikely to take place, said Head of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies’ Center of the Near and Middle East Vladimir Fitin. "Arab and other Muslim countries won’t go beyond condemnations and there will be no direct armed conflict because no one will benefit from it," the expert explained.

According to Fitin, European Union countries are unlikely to agree on sanctions against Israel because such decisions are made through consensus and Eastern European nations such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania have a friendlier attitude towards Israel and will not support such tough moves. Besides, the EU will also face pressure from the United States, Israel’s main ally on the international stage.

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