For many years the Mideast conflict was a proxy for the cold war. The USSR supported the Arab rejectionists and the Western bloc provided Israel with weapons and aid to defend itself. In 1972, Anwar Sadat expelled Russian military advisors and and began to move away from the Soviet sphere; in 1979, of course, he signed a peace treaty with Israel under the auspices of the US.
Now the Russians seem to be injecting themselves back into the region, and again they don’t intend to be helpful (at least, not from my point of view). Barry Rubin notes,
The recent visit of Russia’s President Medvedev with a huge entourage was a major step toward reestablishing the old Soviet-Syria relationship. There were broad economic talks, including the possibility of Russia building a nuclear reactor for the Syrian dictatorship…
Then there’s Medvedev’s visit to the newest member of the anti-American Islamist alliance: Turkey. In a joint statement the two countries’ leaders said that Hamas should be part of any regional negotiations. Turkish President Abdullah Gul, a hardline Islamist who was so feared that he had to promise before the last parliamentary election not to be a candidate for president. His AKP party won and within a few hours Gul was stepping into that office.
Gul explained in his joint press conference with Medvedev, who said the same exact thing: “Unfortunately Palestinians have been split into two… In order to reunite them, you have to speak to both sides. Hamas won elections in Gaza and cannot be ignored.”
A call for Hamas to be included in negotiations amounts to an endorsement of the genocidal Hamas program. Do I exaggerate? Read the Hamas covenant and consider what Hamas has done since Israel withdrew from Gaza. It really doesn’t matter if Hamas won an election, because even if the majority of Palestinian Arabs believe that Israel should be destroyed and all the Jews murdered, this is not a civilized position and it does not deserve a civilized response (to be precise, Hamas won an election, joined a coalition government, and then violently overthrew it and set up a rump regime).
The Russians have a spotted history of civilized and not-so-civilized behavior, but this is particularly cynical considering that they are facing violent Islamic insurgencies themselves. Rubin suggests that they have made a deal with Iran that they will support the anti-American Iran-Syria-Turkey alliance in return for Iran’s withholding support for the Chechen and other Muslim separatists. Not terribly surprising, from the folks that gave us the Molotov-Ribbentrop nonaggression pact of 1939.
Anyway, this is not aimed specifically at Israel, although I doubt that the traditionally antisemitic Russians would be bothered by the negative side effects of their policy for Israel. The idea is to keep Iran off their backs and also to get on the winning side in the conflict between Iran and the US for influence in the Mideast.
It’s ironic — anti-Zionists in the US often argue falsely that we wouldn’t be a target of Islamic terrorism were it not for our support of Israel. Since the conflict in the Mideast today is at least in part driven by the Iranian desire to push out US influence from the region, one could say that Israel’s problems stem from its support of the US!