In an interview with Muslim Press, Jeffrey Blankfort, a radio host and journalist in Northern California, said “Putin is well aware of the collaboration between Mahmoud Abbas and the PA security forces with Israel which, as stated in the Oslo accords, is required to suppress Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation.”

Here’s the full transcript of the interview:

Muslim Press: You have described the close relations between Russia and Israel as “one of the more bizarre developments of this millennium.” Would you explain what you mean?

Jeffrey Blankfort: Why I described the cozy relationship between Putin and Netanyahu as being bizarre is not because it necessarily is, but because one of the parties, Netanyahu, has more support in the US Congress than any president in recent years, and quite likely could have won the Republican nomination for president had he been an American citizen while Vladimir Putin is America's latest bogey man with no elected official or mainstream newspaper columnist having the courage to even try to understand Putin's position.

That Putin has hosted Netanyahu in five state visits over the last year and a half, during which both men appear to be on the friendliest of terms, consequently, is not something your average, politically unsophisticated Americans would be able to understand or accept. They would, understandably wonder why this person, Netanyahu, who speaks beautiful English and is considered a great friend of the United States would be on such good terms with a man depicted as America's greatest enemy. Since it can't be explained in a manner that would satisfy most Americans, the US media, controlled by the America Jewish Zionist establishment on issues effecting Israel, simply decided not to report it, much as it decided not to publicize the fact that Israel had refused to vote for US sponsored sanctions against Russia in the UN after it annexed Crimea and would later have its UN delegate be absent from a UNGA vote to investigate alleged war crimes in Syria, done as a favor to Putin, according to the Israeli press.

The next day, according to Ha'aretz, Netanyahu asked Putin to try and prevent the UNSC from voting on the resolution criticizing Israel's settlements and Russia's UN ambassador, the late Vitaly Churkin did, in fact, try to do that, but failed, again according to Ha'aretz. Not one word about this appeared in the US media despite the fact that it monitors the Israel press. Netanyahu, of course, can count on the power and influence of his US supporters over every critical facet of US society so he has no reason to worry that his friendship with Putin will hurt him in any way.

MP: How would this relationship affect Palestinians?

Jeffrey Blankfort: Moreover, given the fact that there are over a million Russians in Israel and that many are receiving Russian pensions as well as voting in Russia's elections, it pays for him to have good relations with Israel even if the latter was not occupying the Palestinian West Bank and giving no sign of reversing its intention to keep any sort of Palestinian entity from emerging. Putin is aware of this but it should be obvious that what happens to the Palestinians is nor particularly high on his agenda. Ironically, like Netanyahu not having to worry about unfavorable reports in the US press about their relationship, Putin, because of his stance against the US, has nothing to worry about critics from the Left.

Putin is well aware of the collaboration between Mahmoud Abbas and the PA security forces with Israel which, as stated in the Oslo accords, is required to suppress Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation, a task it has carried out faithfully to the detriment of the Palestinians and their cause since the end of the Second Intifada. I would suspect that Putin has concluded that if the Palestinians, in Palestine as well as the diaspora, accept the present situation without loudly condemning and protesting against Abbas and his PA cronies, Saeb Erekat et al, he is not going to waste much time trying to achieve an accord that neither his friend, Netanyahu or Netanyahu's puppet, Abbas, want to happen. When one considers that since the US orchestrated coup in Ukraine which was clearly directed at Russia and reviving NATO and the ongoing conflict with the US and ISIS and the Al-Qaeda linked forces within Syria, capped most recently with the trumped up accusations of that government's use of chemical weapons, I doubt very much that Putin has given much serious thought to improving the situation on the ground for Palestinians since it would threaten his relations with Netanyahu and Israel's Russian speaking immigrants.

MP: What’s your take on Russia’s recent recognition of West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine?

Jeffrey Blankfort: I have been deeply involved in the struggle for justice in and for Palestine since spending 4 1/2 months in the refugee camps of Jordan and Lebanon in 1970. I consider the Oslo Accords to have been a second Nakba leaving the Palestinians with even less prospects than they had after 1948. That Arafat and his agent, Abbas, who did the negotiations with no lawyer present, allowed the Israelis to occupy 60% of the West Bank, Area C, was unconscionable and arguably illegal under international law then and it remains so to this day.

Give the above, Putin's recognition of two capitals in Jerusalem won't have any real effect on the situation on the ground or with his relationship with Netanyahu since both know it is a meaningless gesture designed to make him appear to still be concerned for the Palestinians.

MP: How would the US attack against Syria complicate ties between Israel and Russia?

Jeffrey Blankfort: The US attack on Syria, without any solid evidence that the Syrians employed chemical weapons at Idlib and expert opinion contradicting Washington's assumptions from former members of the US intelligence community, was, I suspect, carried out by Trump to prove that he is not Putin's puppet and to shift attention away from the three investigations that are now taking place concerning his connections and those close to him with Moscow. If nothing else, former critics of Trump now say his decision to send those Tomahawk missiles to bomb the Syrian airbase have made him seem "presidential" and the polls show most Americans demonstrated their worldly ignorance by supporting the attack.


Jeffrey Blankfort is a journalist and radio programmer. His articles have appeared in CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Mondoweiss, Pulse Media, Left Curve, The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and the Encyclopedia of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. He was a founding member of the November 29th Committee on Palestine, a co-founder of the Labor Committee on the Middle East and editor of its publication, The Middle East Labor Bulletin (1988-1995).