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"Israel disses US while seeking "bi-lateral alliance' with Russia

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"Israel disses US while seeking "bi-lateral alliance' with Russia

Franklin Lamb

Beirut

Two interpretations by the participants themselves, of what significant international meetings achieved, the first on 6/25/12 and the second five days later, remind us about subjectivity in the eyes of the beholders.

Post-event statements, whether following last weekend's Geneva meeting on Syria which produced markedly different interpretations of the final communique language by the Russian and American Foreign Ministers, Sergei Lavrov (that Syria's President Bashar Assad need not necessarily depart-depending on what the Syrian people decide) and Hillary Clinton, (Assad's departure is absolutely required) may have sent French, Russian and English language interpreters looking for their thesaurus.  

Similarly, vastly divergent Russian-Israeli interpretations about what was agreed to during the 24 hour " just passing through" visit by   Vladimir Putin to Palestine and   the Zionist lobby's touting of " a new Israel-Russia bi-lateral alliance"   suggests serious wishful thinking by one side according to an official at the Russian Embassy in Beirut with whom this observer discussed last week's Putin visit.

At a joint news conference after their meeting, Mr. Netanyahu said he and Mr. Putin had agreed that the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran "presents a grave danger first of all to Israel, and to the region and the world as a whole." Israel, Netanyahu announced on 6/25/12, to raised eyebrows from some among the 400 member visiting Russian delegation, expects the once and likely future superpower to support expanded sanctions against Tehran, demand a halt to all uranium enrichment by Iran, insist on the removal of all enriched uranium from Iran and the dismantling of an underground nuclear facility near the city of Qum.

  For Putin's part, he only proffered that he and Netanyahu had discussed Syria and the Iranian nuclear program and that the talks had been "useful".   During his short visit Putin inaugurated a memorial in Netanya for Soviet troops killed in World War II and presumably had others motives given Russia's interest in Israel's defense industry.   In the last two years Russia has purchased 12 drones from different Israeli companies.

  The newly inaugurated Russian president , who has said he regarded the breakup of the Soviet Union as a geopolitical catastrophe, defended the Iranian people's right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes but pointed out at the same time that Iran should guarantee non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, but in any case, the problem should be solved peacefully, by way of talks.

Israel's Prime Minister repeatedly expressed reservations about Russia's role in the long-stagnant Israeli-Palestinian "peace process". He complained to Putin that Russia, a member of the so-called quartet of Middle East peacemakers has consistently sided with the Palestinians during disputes. Netanyahu called on Putin to urge the Palestinians to return to negotiations but received a puzzled look from his guest as if Putin might have been wondering why Israel has not suspended illegal settlements expansion and land confiscations, as the Palestinians and the international community have   demanded for over four decades.   Undaunted, Netanyahu appeared not to notice Putin's quizzical expression while insisting that he was sure that the Russian visit would improve ties in agriculture, science, technology and space, "among other fields'.

The Israeli Prime Ministers staff explained that the Soviet Union had been hostile to Israel and now relations should improve while Defense Minister Ehud Barak said at an Independence Party meeting that "Russia is a very important world power, a country that played a very important role in Syria's history in the past few years and that is why it will play a key role in the shaping of post-Assad Syria." Barak also stressed Russia's importance in "the international effort vis---vis Iran in terms of sanctions and diplomacy and his belief that Putin understood that in dealing with Iran, Israel faces a decision between "bombing or the bomb" and if Israel doesn't attack, Iran will eventually obtain nuclear weapons.

Yet, according to Russian Embassy discussions in Beirut, Putin repeatedly warned

Israeli officials that the very existence of Israel was at risk if it attacked Iran and that Israel should not

delude itself that Russia will ever sanction an attack on Iran or that Russia will get involved with Israel's attack in anyway.   Putin emphasized that Israel should think twice before taking any action on Iran and should learn lessons from the United States' experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Look what happened to America in Afghanistan and Iraq," Putin said. "I told Obama also. You don't need to jump to things too early; you don't need to act before thinking. In Iraq there is a pro-Iranian government after everything that happened there. You need to think well before doing something you'll be sorry about." Putin also told Netanyahu that Russia will recognize a Palestinian state.

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