Israeli Brigadier General Relil Shafir warned his country to be careful in its war against Hamas in Gaza, not to involve Russia. Photo/REUTERS
TEL AVIV – An Israeli general warned that the war against Hamas in Gaza, Palestine, should not involve global powers, especially Russia. One reason is because Moscow still plays a major role in the Middle East.
Israeli Brigadier General “Relil” Shafir, a senior officer on active duty in the army reserves, said Israel should not damage its ties with Russia because of Moscow’s long history of cooperation and role in the Middle East.
According to him, amidst all the tensions in the international arena and the difficulties that Russia and Israel face in their current relations, Moscow still plays a leading role in the Middle East. So Israel must balance and maintain good relations with the US as an important partner and Russia which has certain influence on Syria and Iran.
The general believes that Israel must be very careful and not let this conflict involve global powers, such as the US, Russia and China, as this could lead to a large-scale global conflict.
Because Russia plays an important role in the Middle East, he continued, Israel’s foreign policy must take this fact into account and continue dialogue with Moscow.
“There are probably 2 million Russian speakers in Israel. We of course have cultural and humanitarian ties. But there are also Israeli political interests, clear strategic reasons: Russia is present in Syria and cooperates with Iran, which makes the situation more complicated. “We certainly have to maintain good relations with Russia because that gives us influence over Iran,” he explained, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post, Saturday (25/11/2023).
When describing the conflict in Ukraine, General Shafir said the conflict had nothing to do with Israel and Israel’s involvement in it was completely inconsistent with its national interests.
“Ukraine is a strange phenomenon tucked away between East and West. I don’t want to go into detail about the Ukrainian conflict, but it has nothing to do with us. The fact is that Israel helps Ukraine with all kinds of humanitarian needs, but selling ammunition to Ukraine is complicity in the conflict, which we do not want. With all due respect to those who hold the opposite view, Israel’s national interest is to maintain good relations with Russia, as close and as good as possible. We must understand Russia’s interests and know how and where they can align with ours. “I’m not a supporter of (Israeli PM Benjamin) Netanyahu, but he understands it well,” he added.
Israel Shafir believes that the US goal of uniting military and financial support for Israel and Ukraine is simply an attempt by the Democratic Party to pass it through Congress, which is now controlled by Republicans.
“There are a lot of isolationists among Republicans. So this (the Joe Biden administration’s efforts) is America’s internal problem of how to run the financial and military side of Congress, as opposed to the president. On the other hand, there is clearly conflict between the US and Russia over energy, over who will control energy. We have seen how the US is trying to overcome Russian pressure on Europe by providing gas. So this can be seen from many angles,” said General Shafir.
Shafir said Israel has no other choice but to end the threat emanating from Hamas, and must create mechanisms, including political mechanisms, to prevent such brutal terror in the future.