Russian FM Criticizes West's ‘Double Standards,’ Says No Alternative to Palestinian State

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and Foreign Ministry's Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova attend an annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, 18 January 2024. (EPA)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and Foreign Ministry's Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova attend an annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, 18 January 2024. (EPA)
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Russian FM Criticizes West's ‘Double Standards,’ Says No Alternative to Palestinian State

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and Foreign Ministry's Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova attend an annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, 18 January 2024. (EPA)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and Foreign Ministry's Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova attend an annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, 18 January 2024. (EPA)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed that his country sees no alternative to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state according to the 1967 borders, saying Israel must reach this conclusion.

Speaking at a press conference in Moscow on Thursday, Lavrov strongly criticized the West’s "double standards" on the Ukrainian war and war on Gaza.

He announced that he intends to participate in Monday's United Nations Security Council session on the Middle East, where he will present his country's comprehensive vision of the requirements for a settlement in the region.

Russia has repeatedly “declared its vision for the developments in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian territories, and region in general, especially Iraq and Yemen,” he went on to say.

He stressed that the US and its allies “have undoubtedly violated all international laws and standards in these areas, including UN Security Council resolutions.”

On Gaza, Lavrov strongly criticized the US administration, saying it practiced the worst types of “double standards,” noting the West was quick to accuse Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine, while continuing to turn a blind eye to the atrocities in the Palestinian territories.

Double standards

The FM called for abandoning the double standards, emphasizing that Moscow is concerned with the rules and principles of international law during combat operations.

Lavrov also harshly criticized US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said at the World Economic Forum in Davos that Washington was hearing from virtually every country in the Middle East that they wanted the United States to be at the table in discussions over how to bring about an end to Israel's war on Gaza.

Lavrov added that Blinken said the US alone is capable of mediating between the Palestinians and Israelis, adding that Russia is aware of its secret contacts with some Arab countries.

He noted that these contacts do not necessarily lead to a direct and effective dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis.

He stressed that the only solution can be achieved through an international quartet committee, including representatives from Russia, the US, UN, EU, and Arab League, while accusing American and European officials of obstructing the work of the committee.

Moreover, the top diplomat said efforts must rely on joint action without monopolizing mediation efforts.

The efforts must include the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, existing side by side with Israel and under Security Council resolutions, said Lavrov. Any other scenario will not lead to stability in the region and another war on Gaza will erupt in the future, he remarked.

Lavrov warned that “without a final solution to the Palestinian cause, the Palestinian people will continue to live in injustice.”

“A Palestinian state must be established to end this conflict. I hope that the Israeli leadership will reach such a conclusion,” he urged.

Furthermore, Lavrov said his country is neutral and maintains contact with all parties. It is interested in Israel living in peace and security, he went on to say, noting that there are 2 million dual Russian-Israeli citizens living in Israel.

He added that Moscow was ready to exert every effort to provide security for Israel during the full implementation of the relevant settlement decisions.

“Palestinians and Israelis must sit at the direct negotiating table” and determine the future of the Palestinian state, demanded Lavrov, adding that the “Israelis cannot use the Holocaust as an excuse to do whatever they want.”



Israeli Tanks at Edge of Rafah's Mawasi Refuge Zone

A man walks across  fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024.  (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A man walks across fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
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Israeli Tanks at Edge of Rafah's Mawasi Refuge Zone

A man walks across  fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024.  (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A man walks across fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)

Israeli tanks advanced to the edge of the Mawasi displaced persons' camp in the northwest of the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Sunday in fierce fighting with Hamas-led fighters, residents said.
Images of two Israeli tanks stationed on a hilltop overlooking the coastal area went viral on social media, but Reuters could not independently verify them.

"The fighting with the resistance has been intense. The occupation forces are overlooking the Mawasi area now, which forced families there to head for Khan Younis," said one resident, who asked not to be named, on a chat app.

More than eight months into Israel's war in the Hamas-administered Palestinian enclave, its advance is focused on the two areas its forces have yet to seize: Rafah on Gaza's southern tip and the area surrounding Deir al-Balah in the center.

Residents said Israeli tanks had pushed deeper into western and northern Rafah in recent days, blowing up dozens of houses.

The Israeli military said it was continuing "intelligence-based, targeted operations" in the Rafah area and had located weapons stores and tunnel shafts, and killed Palestinian gunmen.

The armed wings of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad movement said their fighters had attacked Israeli forces in Rafah with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs and pre-planted explosive devices.

Elsewhere, an Israeli airstrike killed eight Palestinians in Sabra, a suburb of Gaza City in the north, and another strike killed two people in Nuseirat in central Gaza.

The military said it had struck dozens of targets throughout the Strip.

On Saturday, Palestinian health officials said at least 40 Palestinians had been killed in separate Israeli strikes in some northern Gaza districts, where the Israeli army said it had attacked Hamas's military infrastructure. Hamas said the targets were the civilian population.

In Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, health officials at Kamal Adwan Hospital said a baby had died of malnutrition, taking the number of children dead of malnutrition or dehydration since Oct. 7 to at least 30, a number that health officials say reflects under-recording.