Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has criticized Israel for using Hamas's October 7 offensive as a pretext for what he termed the collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza. This strong statement came during Lavrov's virtual address at the Doha Forum, as he called for international monitoring of the situation in the besieged enclave.
Speaking to Al Jazeera's diplomatic editor James Bays, Lavrov contextualized the recent attack by Hamas within a broader historical scope.
He attributed it to “decades and decades of a blockade [in Gaza] and decades and decades of unfulfilled promises to the Palestinians that they would have a state, living side by side with Israel in security and good neighborliness”.This perspective highlights the complex and prolonged nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Russian Foreign Minister's remarks came against the backdrop of a grim statistic: since October 7, at least 17,700 Palestinians, 70 percent of whom were women and children, have been killed in Gaza.
This has led to calls from rights bodies and experts to label the situation as a “genocide”.
Global Politics and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Lavrov also touched upon the theme of “cancel culture” in global politics, likening it to the ongoing war in Gaza.
He described this as a phenomenon where undesirable events or actions lead to mass withdrawal of support. Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized the United States' handling of the situation in Gaza, calling it a diplomatic failure and offering Moscow as a potential mediator in the conflict.
This offer comes amid Russia's condemnation of the recent US veto at the United Nations Security Council, which blocked a resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. The Russian stance at the UN and other global forums has drawn criticism from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who expressed his displeasure in a phone call with Putin.
Netanyahu’s office released a statement emphasizing Israel's right to respond forcefully to terrorist attacks. Lavrov further connected the situation in Gaza with the conflict in Ukraine, terming it as part of a “hybrid war on Russia launched by the United States and NATO”.
He accused the Ukrainian government of attempting to cancel “everything Russian,” including language, media, culture, and education, and criticized Western media for their portrayal of the conflict.