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THE UNHOLY TRINITY

Russia's Political Link With Hamas & Nuclear Sales To Iran Raise Questions For Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Olmert Glosses Over Hamas Visit Citing President Putin's Pledges To Jewish State

Putin - Mashal

Russia apparently flexing its muscles as a Middle East player, has hosted a Hamas delegation after the Palestinians elected the terror organization to run their government. The Russian invitation to terrorists who vow to exterminate Israel has naturally angered Israel: however, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has chosen to take President Vladimir Putin at his word about never harming Israels vital interests. But the Hamas visit and Russia's sale of nuclear know-how to Iran, which also talks about wiping Israel off the map, raise questions about the nature of Russia's links to Israels enemies.

:: IsraCast Audio ::

Does Putin's Russia today, pose a greater threat to Israel than did Soviet Russia during the Cold War? Granted, the Soviet Union sold the Arab states huge quantities of their sophisticated weaponry to launch repeated wars against Israel. But the communists in the Kremlin balked at ever selling their Arab clients the wherewithal for producing nuclear weapons. This cannot be said of Russian President Vladimir Putin's regime that has been building Iran's nuclear reactor, the backbone of the Iranian drive to acquire nuclear weapons. Throwing caution to the winds to make a fast ruble, Russia has contributed to the specter of the bomb in the hands of fanatic Ayatollahs who are also producing ballistic missiles to deliver them. The bizarre statement from Iranian President Ahmadinejad about wiping Israel off the map is not new. Several years ago, Ayatollah Rafsanjani spoke openly about how one Muslim nuclear weapon could annihilate the Jewish state. This did not get much of a rise from the international community. As for the Russians, they serenely echoed the Iranian claim about not wanting nuclear weapons. But when the Iranians started perfecting their long-range ballistic missiles that could reach them, the Europeans finally caught on. Even the Russians are apparently worried, after cashing in on the nuclear sales and other deals with Tehran.

Chechnyan terror acts against Russia. Above: The 2004 massacre in Baslan. Below: The 2002 Moscow theater takeover. (From Newsweek)

Now Hamas enters this unholy trinity. The Russians were the first to invite the fanatic terrorists bent on Israels extermination. But the Russians say they are urging Hamas to act responsibly now that they are in power. (The way the Russians have by selling Iran a nuclear capability?) What is even more grotesque is the fact that Hamas has supported the Chechnya rebels who have carried out numerous atrocities in Russia and against whom the Russians are conducting a ferocious counter-terror campaign that makes the IDFs operations in the territories look like a garden party. But the Russians don't see it that way. On a visit to Israel, Russian foreign minister Sergei Levrov argued there was no comparison. The Israeli- Palestinian conflict was an international dispute between two different entities whereas Chechnya was an internal Russian affair. Off the record, Israeli officials ask rhetorically: How would the Russians react if the U.S. or someone else invited Chechnya officials to come and visit.

Israeli leader Ehud Olmert has been trying to gloss over the Russian invitation to Hamas by extolling Putin's pledge never to harm Israels vital interests. But surely actions speak louder than words whether they're in Russian or Arabic. The Hamas visit to Moscow will boost the terrorists image as authentic political leaders despite their vow to destroy Israel when the time is ripe.

The visit to Russia, follows the Hamas sojourn in Tehran where President Ahmadinejad promised substantial financial aide to the Hamas regime. This week, the European Union decided to provide strictly humanitarian help to the Palestinian people. By contrast, its a safe bet the Iranian handout was to guarantee that Hamas never abandons its final solution for the Jewish state.

David Essing

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