The Ukraine crisis activated the political fault lines all over the world.
Even though it is far from the conflict area, the Middle East is also affected by the “low-intensity war” between Russia and the USA taking place in Ukraine. The most visible proof of this situation are day-to-day more tense relations between Russia and Israel.
This tension between Russia and Israel also concerns Turkey, which has taken steps to normalize relations with Israel.
Hamas delegation in Moscow
Ongoing tensions between Moscow and Tel Aviv came to light when Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov pointed out the similarity of Hitler and Zelensky and stated that Jews could be fascists too.
Right after Lavrov’s statement, a delegation of senior executives of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas was hosted in Moscow.
The Hamas delegation met various actors, among them the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and the Grand Mufti of Russia, Ravil Gaynetdin made. According to the information that was shared with the press, the general situation in Palestine, the national consensus and the Israeli attacks against the Al Aqsa Mosque were discussed during the meetings.
It is said that the meetings between the delegations were productive, with a delegation headed by Hamas’ political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh visiting Moscow soon.
Hamas chief Abu Marzouk described Russia’s intervention in Ukraine as “an attempt to create a more just world and an attempt to save peoples oppressed by the West”, in his statement after his visit. This also indicates that Moscow – Hamas relations will deepen.
Russian Deputy Minister Bogdanov’s statement that Fatah officials will be hosted in Moscow after Hamas can be considered as Russia’s effort to unite the political movements in Palestine.
It is obvious that the political rupture between Russia and Israel will change the fate of the Middle East irreversibly.
Hamas official: “A multipolar world is being born”
I asked Dr. Basim Naim, who heads the International Bureau of the organization, how Hamas evaluates the recent developments, beginning with the Russia – Hamas relations.
Naim stated that “the tension between Russia and Israel is an expected development”. According to Naim, the main reason for this tension “is the fact that Israel sides with its historican ally, the US, thus threatening Russia’s interests generally and in the Middle East” within the new global conflict lines.
Regarding the Russia-Palestine relations, Naim made the following statement: “Russia is a supporter of the Palestinian cause. Although this support is interrupted in some periods, it has been continuing strongly in the last period. As Hamas, we appreciate Russia’s support and hope it will increase even more.”
Expressing his hope that the emerging new world will be “multipolar”, Dr Basem Naim said Russia could play a “decisive role for the Palestinian cause” in this new process.
Turkey-Israel normalization, European gas and Hamas
The Turkish-Israeli normalization continuing in parallel with the tensions between Russia and Israel, is still on the agenda.
In my previous articles, I mentioned the plans to transport Israeli gas to Europe through Turkey.
Russia does not want to lose its energy monopoly over Europe. Therefore it is likely that this project, which would break the Russian influence in Europe in the energy field, lies behind the tensions between Russia and Israel.
Another aim of this US-supported project is to disrupt Turkish-Russian relations through Israeli energy plans.
In this regard, the relations between Turkey and Palestine are of importance.
When I asked Dr. Basem Naim about the normalization between Turkey and Israel, he said that Turkey has never cut its relations with Israel and continued: “Palestinians are against any attempt to normalize with Israel, because this approach justifies Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands. Any attempt to normalize with Israel, which ignores the Palestinians’ demand for independence, will fail. Countries trying to normalize with Israel are under a great illusion. We advise our friends and brothers not to be fooled by this illusion.”
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, while the conflict between Russia and the USA is changing the world irreversibly, it is also creating new opportunities.
The Russian-Israeli tension opens up new spaces for Turkey and the countries of the region.
Those who can think outside the Western-centered world patterns see opportunities for cooperation between Turkey and Russia not only in bilateral relations, but also in the Middle East, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean and Palestine.