Israel pursuing similar goals to Russia – Lavrov

The fight against Nazism is what historically unites Russia and the Middle Eastern country, the foreign minister said

The declared goals of Israel in its ongoing operation against Hamas militants in Gaza seem nearly identical to Moscow’s in its campaign against the Ukrainian government, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said in an interview with RIA Novosti on Thursday.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has been carrying out a relentless bombing campaign in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza over the past two months following a surprise Hamas attack on Israeli territories on October 7. The attack by the Palestinian militants left some 1,200 people dead and saw the kidnapping of over 200 hostages. Israel’s response, meanwhile, has reportedly cost the lives of over 21,000 people, according to Gaza health officials.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that the end goal of the IDF is the complete destruction of the Hamas movement in all its forms, as well as the elimination of all extremism in Gaza.

Lavrov, however, noted that these goals seem similar to “demilitarization” and “denazification,” which Moscow has been pursuing in Ukraine since it launched its offensive in February 2022.

The diplomat noted the hypocrisy demonstrated by Israel’s former government under Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who condemned Russia’s military operation and accused Moscow of attacking the civilian population and annexing parts of Ukraine. “This was unfair,” said Lavrov.

At the same time, the minister pointed out that the current Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu – who took office for a sixth term in December 2022 – has avoided making any statements against Russia, despite international criticism and finding himself in “a difficult situation.”

Lavrov further recalled that Netanyahu had held two phone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and that the Israelis had helped Moscow evacuate Russian citizens from Gaza.

“Therefore, we need to be very careful about our common history with Israel and, above all, the history of the fight against Nazism. This is the main thing that unites us historically,” Lavrov said.

Russia has repeatedly called on both Israel and Hamas to stop hostilities in Gaza, with Putin stating that the only way to resolve the Middle East crisis was through a “two-state” formula approved by the UN Security Council.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, has refused to send military aid to Ukraine and has instead offered himself as a potential mediator for peace talks between Moscow and Kiev.