Russia, the current president of the United Nations Security Council, has refused an Israeli request to postpone a debate on the Palestinian issue scheduled for Tuesday, Israel’s Memorial Day, according to a Saturday evening report.
UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan recently reached out to Russian UN officials, conveying to them the sensitivity of the national day of mourning for Israel’s fallen, and saying it would be inappropriate to hold the debate on “The Middle East, including the Palestinian Question” on such a day, Channel 12 reported.
Moscow did not acquiesce, and its refusal was seen as retaliation for the Jewish state supporting Ukraine in the ongoing war there, the report said, citing a diplomatic official.
According to the report, the Palestinians, who view the decision to hold the debate as a victory, will be represented by their foreign minister, Riyad al-Malki.
Shortly after Russia assumed the rotating presidency of the United Nations’ Security Council for a month on April 1, the council announced it would hold a session on the situation in the Middle East, chaired by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Several days later, the council held an emergency closed-door session to discuss burgeoning violence in Jerusalem, during which several members pushed for a statement condemning Israel, according to a UN diplomat for a county on the panel. However, the Biden administration blocked the issuing of such a statement, a senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel.
Some members were also pushing for the statement to include a condemnation of rocket fire at Israel from Gaza and Lebanon, the UN diplomat said. However, Israel lobbied countries against issuing any statement, fearing that it would be used to draw an equivalency between its actions and those of terror groups, the Israeli official said.
While Israel has sought to avoid antagonizing Russia — which controls the airspace over Syria where Israel operates to target Iranian proxies — it has offered strong criticism of Moscow and its invasion of Ukraine on several occasions, including in the UN.
In February, it voted alongside 140 other countries for a UN General Assembly resolution drafted by Kyiv calling for Russia to withdraw its forces from the country.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry is reportedly concerned by a hardening of Moscow’s rhetoric toward Jerusalem after Israel was said to have authorized the sale of defensive military equipment to Kyiv for the first time since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Though it has resisted providing weapons to Ukraine, Israel will also next month reportedly station in Kyiv an early warning system that it is developing for Ukraine to sound an alert of incoming Russian strikes.
Jacob Magid contributed to this report.