Russia's Lavrov says collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza unacceptable

Russian Foreign Minister calls for international monitoring on the ground in the besieged enclave

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has hit out at Israel's military offensive in Gaza. AFP
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Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Sunday said his country does not accept Israel using the October 7 Hamas attack as justification for collective punishment of millions of Palestinians in Gaza.

“We do not believe it is acceptable [for Israel to use Hamas’ attack] for the collective punishment of millions of Palestinians with indiscriminate shelling of civilians,” Mr Lavrov told the Doha Forum.

He said the push for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza was essential.

Mr Lavrov also called for monitoring on the ground in Gaza as the death toll in the besieged enclave surpassed 17,700 people, mostly women and children.

He reaffirmed Russia’s position on the need to address the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how they relate to events that have unfolded in Gaza since October 7.

Mr Lavrov said: “The situation of more than 70 years of a resolution promising a state to Palestinians has been sabotaged and for about 15 years the blockade on Gaza continues.

“We have told Israel for many years that the single most dangerous factor igniting extremism in the Middle East is the unresolved nature of the status of Palestinian statehood,” he said at the Doha Forum, an annual conference that focuses on regional policy and global issues.

On Friday, a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza failed to pass on Friday following the US's use of veto.

Thirteen of the 15 UN Security Council member states approved the proposed resolution, however, the US use of its veto power as a permanent member to block the ceasefire proposal.

Mr Lavrov criticised the US for its veto vote and what he described as a disregard for some of the history relating to the events unfolding in the war in Gaza.

“The Americans are so good at what we call ‘cancel culture’. Whenever they do not like some parts of history or events they just cancel what preceded it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin his "dissatisfaction with the anti-Israel stance on the war against Hamas that has been presented by Moscow’s officials at the UN and in other forums”, his office said in a statement on Sunday.

“The Prime Minister emphasised that any country that would suffer a criminal terrorist attack such as Israel experienced would act with no less force than the one in which Israel has reacted,” the statement read.

In relation to Russia’s war in Ukraine, Mr Lavrov told the Doha Forum “it is out of the question for Ukraine to join Nato".

Updated: December 11, 2023, 5:27 AM