Quarterly Updates for (16 Feb 2017 — 15 May 2017)

After briefly partaking in the international effort to facilitate a new round of IsraeliPalestinian peace talks in late 2016 (see JPS 46 [2]), Russia was largely absent from the Israeli-Palestinian arena this quarter. An exception to this was a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 4/6 clarifying its position on one of the major final-status issues to be resolved in any negotiations. In a statement condemning Israel’s plans to build a new settlement in the West Bank, as announced on 3/30 (see “The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict” above), the Russian Foreign Ministry said, “We reaffirm our commitment to the UNapproved principles for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, which include the status of East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state. At the same time, we must state that in this context we view West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” Previous Russian statements had indicated that East Jerusalem should be the capital of any future Palestinian state and neglected to mention the status of West Jerusalem.