Now that another Middle East war seems imminent, concerns are growing about the new powerful weapons that are available to Palestinian terrorists. It appears to be virtually unknown that these weapons are being steadily supplied by Putin’s Russia. In the present atmosphere of the everlasting “reset” of relations between the U.S. and Russia, it is not difficult for the Kremlin to camouflage its arming of terrorists. Indeed, the world is willing to turn a blind eye.
This month, for instance, Russia announced it was making another gift to the “Palestinian security forces” on the West Bank: 50 armored vehicles. According to Russia’s Foreign Ministry earlier this month, the gift was already in Jordan and about to be passed on to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). It was President Medvedev who made this decision which, the Kremlin says, will help the development of a Palestinian statehood.
The Russian spokesmen made much of the fact that the actual weapons had been removed from the vehicles. However, this does not make them as harmless as Moscow hoped to suggest. Not long before, Israel saw a wave of so-called “bulldozer terrorist attacks.” Palestinians hijacked bulldozers working on Jerusalem construction sites and went to the city streets ramming buses and cars. The terrorists were from the West Bank or East Jerusalem. Some observers at the time described those attacks as evidence of Israeli success in the war against terrorism. Suicide bombers, they pointed out, couldn’t penetrate Israel’s borders and the bulldozers were their last resort. And the “bulldozer terrorists” left far less dead and wounded than usual “martyrs” — even though the figures are of little comfort to the victims.
Owing to Russia’s generosity, the terrorists are getting a new chance for success as now they will be able to hijack armored vehicles. The kill potential of these vehicles is by no means less than of bulldozers; their maneuver capability and speed are better and they can bypass Israeli checkpoints on rolling terrain or simply ram into border crossings — which are not impenetrable fortresses.
Officially, like the U.S. and many other countries, Russia supports the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank led by Mahmoud Abbas, not Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It’s difficult to say why anybody would consider Abbas and his Fatah Party, founded by Yasser Arafat, a partner to make business with. Arafat was the Godfather of Terror and within almost six years after his death, Fatah has never distanced itself from the founding father’s ideas. However, in line with the custom to look for “hawks” and “doves” everywhere, while Fatah’s twin brother Hamas is internationally called a “radical movement,” Fatah is considered to be “moderate.”
Still, Russia’s relations with Hamas blossom just as well. The Hamas leaders are received at the highest levels in Moscow and at popular sea resorts like Sochi. In January, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin told the Security Council that the purpose of Moscow’s contacts with Hamas was to persuade its leaders to take steps towards Palestinian reunification. Without unity on the platform of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) it is very difficult to create the Palestinian state, he stressed. Churkin also explained that Moscow worked with all Palestinian sides in order to train officers for the Palestinian security forces, as well as to give Palestinians government scholarships in order to educate them in Russian universities. Admittedly, the education Russia is providing to the Palestinians is certainly working — as demonstrated, for example, by the recent success of “Palestinian engineers from Gaza” who managed to produce home-made rockets of longer range to shell Israeli cities. Russia’s education of Palestinians can truly work wonders.