The news comes amid increased tensions between Palestine and the US after President Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Sputnik discussed this with Israel Shamir, a writer and independent political commentator.
Sputnik: Mahmoud Abbas has earlier stated that Palestine does not want the United States to be the sole mediator in Middle East negotiations. How likely is it that Russia could become the new mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian settlement process?
Israel Shamir: Mahmoud Abbas said again that now the United States can't be the only mediator, in other words, it's not like the United States won't be one of the mediators, it will remain so, but only as a part of some bigger international mechanism that will do the job. He also expressed his satisfaction with President Putin's warm words about Palestine.
Indeed there's a general feeling in the Middle East that Russia is playing a bigger and bigger role in what happens in the area. We especially saw it on Saturday, when Syrians succeeded in shooting down an Israeli plane, and Israel went into a huge responding strike against Syria, and then it was said in Israel, that there was a telephone call between Netanyahu and Mr. Putin, and in this telephone call he, actually, convinced Israel to stop the war footing and to be quiet.
In Israel, the feeling is, that Putin is known as the man that can make peace or some sort of peace arrangement or ceasefire, whatever happens in the Middle East. But whether he can actually achieve what is called peace between Israel and Palestine, I'm very doubtful of that, and I think I don't know anybody who's especially positive about that.
There is only one country that can force Israel, that's the United States, and the United States will definitely not do anything that is not agreed upon with Israel, so we're back to the beginning of the game, and it actually hasn't started. Though I don't think somebody can really believe that things can be drastically changed as long as Washington is so devoid of independent thinking, and so much is given to its belief that Israel is right and we should do exactly what Israel says. We don't even know whether Washington controls Israel, it is also possible that if in a moment Washington will say that we don't want to support Israel, Israel will just switch partners.
Sputnik: How do you see Russia coming to the negotiating table with Washington, Israel and Palestine, obviously the relationship between Russia and Washington is also not very good, will that impede the talks?
Israel Shamir: Yes, it will, and it's not like they're not going on. There's a mechanism which is called the quartet, the Middle East Quartet, which includes Russia, the United States, Europe and the United Nations, so within this quartet concept, there are always negotiations with Israel and with Palestinians. So there's nothing especially new about that, and they can do it perfectly well; will it be successful, that's a totally different story. I think that more and more people come to the conclusion that the only way is to stop negotiations completely, throw all this sham of negotiations away, and instead force Israel to give up its apartheid policies and to accept Palestinians as equal citizens in their common state.
Sputnik: Do you think that the talks, when they will occur, will focus on a one-state or a two-state solution?
Israel Shamir: I think they will go along the same old routine of the two-state solution which leads nowhere. You know, there not many people, a sufficient amount of the generation, who say now we will go for one state. First of all, Israelis are totally impartial, they want to take the land, but they don't want to take people. And I don't see that something like that changes meanwhile in Israel, but again things could change.
Sputnik: Do you think the Palestinians would be open to a one-state solution?
Israel Shamir: Well definitely yes; the Palestinians always wanted a one-state solution, actually that was always the problem of the PNA, the Palestinian National Authority, that people of Palestine would always prefer one state.
The views and opinions expressed by Israel Shamir are those of the expert and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.