Israel Protests Russia Hosting Hamas Leader

YERUSHALAYIM -
Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90/File Photo)

Israel has registered a protest with Moscow over its decision to invite Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to Moscow, according to Channel 10.

The Russians reportedly rebuffed Israel on the matter.

During the past two weeks, Israeli envoy to Russia Gary Koren complained to senior Russian officials about the invitation, noting that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hasn’t been invited to meet his counterpart Vladimir Putin since Syrian air defenses downed a Russian plane when attempting to hit an Israeli jet, for which Moscow has blamed Israel.

Israeli officials are quoted as saying the foreign ministry has made similar protests to Russia’s embassy in Israel.

Moscow reportedly dismissed the protests, pointing out that Yerushalayim has also been holding talks with the Palestinian terror group.

The Russians were presumably referring to Egyptian-mediated talks to arrange a ceasefire in the recent conflict on the Gaza-Israel border. However, Israel has avoided direct talks with Hamas officials, and has never hosted them.