Israel concerned Russia will recognize Palestinian state
Fatah official Nabil Sha'ath tells Al-Hayat newspaper that Dmitry Medvedev will affirm Soviet Union's 1988 recognition of a Palestinian state during West Bank visit.
Israeli officials fear that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will announce on Tuesday during a visit to Jericho that Russia recognizes a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.
Medvedev is to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The Russian president's planned visit to Israel was canceled due to the Foreign Ministry strike.
Officials became concerned following an interview given by Fatah official Nabil Sha'ath to the Al-Hayat newspaper on Tuesday. Sha'ath said that Medvedev would affirm the Soviet Union's 1988 recognition of a Palestinian state - a recognition that was based on the declaration of independence made by Yassir Arafat that year.
Such a move would be significant, particularly since Russia is a member of the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiatiors.
Foreign Ministry officials said that they could not confirm or deny the veracity of Sha'ath's words, due to a lack of communication with the Russians in recent weeks caused by the Foreign Ministry strike.
One ministry official said that Russian recognition of a Palestinian state would be a severe blow to Israel that would cause a domino effect of other states following Russia's lead, including China.
A number of South American countries recently recognized a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.