Putin tells Abbas he’ll continue sending aid to Gaza, urges a ‘quick’ end to war

Presidents of Russia, PA both call for moving toward a two-state solution, while Palestinian Authority chief goes further in demanding an immediate ceasefire

File - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a meeting in Bethlehem, January 23, 2020. (Alexander Nemenov, Pool via AP)
File - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a meeting in Bethlehem, January 23, 2020. (Alexander Nemenov, Pool via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged on Friday to continue supplying the Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid, while urging a peaceful resolution to fighting between Israel and Hamas during a phone call with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“Russia will continue to supply the Gaza Strip with essential goods, including medicines and medical equipment,” Putin told Abbas, according to a readout from the Kremlin, which also said the Russian president stresses the “importance of a quick cessation of the bloodshed and the resumption of the political process.”

Putin also called for the resumption of the peace process to establish a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines. “In this context, the Russian side expressed support for the efforts made by the Palestinian leadership led by Mahmoud Abbas,” the Russian readout said.

Israel has come out flatly against the effort, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledging not to allow Gaza to become “Fatahstan” — a reference to Abbas’s political party. But Jerusalem has been increasingly reliant on support from the US, which backs the effort to create a pathway toward a two-state solution after the war. The Biden administration also wants the PA to eventually be tasked with leading a reunited West Bank and Gaza but acknowledges that Ramallah will have to undergo significant reforms first.

In the PA readout of Friday’s call, Abbas went further than Putin, calling for an “immediate and comprehensive ceasefire” in Gaza.

“Abbas further emphasized that peace and security can only be achieved through the implementation of a two-state solution” based on the pre-1967 lines, the PA readout said.

A picture taken from southern Israel bordering the Gaza Strip on December 22, 2023, shows smoke billowing following an Israeli bombardment in the coastal enclave amid the ongoing war with the Hamas terror group. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Abbas “reiterated the importance of swift humanitarian assistance,” his office said, adding that the PA president thanked Putin for the aid Russia has sent to Gaza as well as Moscow’s establishment of a field hospital in the enclave.

Russia airlifted more than 85 tons of aid to Egypt for delivery into Gaza last month.

Putin has made a point in aligning with the Palestinians since the outbreak of the war, differentiating himself from the US, which has come out staunchly in support of Israel.

Earlier this month, Putin described the situation in the Gaza Strip as a “catastrophe” unfolding on a scale that could not be compared to the Ukraine conflict.

“Everybody here and around the world can see and look at the special military operation and at what is happening in Gaza and feel the difference,” he said at a press conference, using the Kremlin’s name for its conflict in Ukraine.

“But there is nothing like this in Ukraine,” he claimed.

An Egyptian Red Crescent truck carrying humanitarian aid moves at the Israeli side of the Kerem Shalom border crossing with the southern Gaza Strip on December 19, 2023. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

Putin’s government has maintained ties with both Hamas and Israel, but he has been vocal in his criticism of Jerusalem. Putin is also widely seen as seeking closer ties with the Iranian government, key allies and financial backers of Hamas.

Russia has justified opening the war by falsely claiming Ukraine is controlled by “Nazis,” which Putin again repeated Thursday, without providing any proof.

Israel launched its vast military operation against Hamas following the terror group’s murderous invasion of southern Israel on October 7, in which it killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took another 240 hostages into Gaza. The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry claims more than 20,000 people have been killed in the Strip during the war, an unverified figure, while Israel says that around 40 percent of them are Hamas terror operatives.

The IDF said Thursday that more than 2,000 Hamas operatives alone have been killed since the end of the temporary ceasefire in Gaza on December 1. This brings the military’s estimates of Hamas fighters killed in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the war to around 8,000. Another 1,000 Hamas terrorists were killed in Israel on October 7, during the terror group’s onslaught.

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