Russia backs Hamas terrorists, calls Israel ‘occupying power’ that ‘does not’ have right to self-defense

Russia has long been a strong international ally of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls the Gaza Strip. Moscow has tried to strike a balance between supporting the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and Israel’s right to self-defense, while consistently condemning the violence perpetrated by both sides. However, in the wake of the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict that erupted in July, the Russian Foreign Ministry has stepped up its criticism of Israel’s approach to the conflict. Specifically, the ministry has issued statements accusing Israel of being an “occupying power” and of “not having the right to self-defense.” Additionally, the ministry has criticized Israel’s military for the “collective punishment” of Palestinians and other provisions of the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip. In total, Russia has been an ardent critic of the Israeli government’s handling of the conflict and its approach to the Palestinian-Israeli peace process as a whole.