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What are Netanyahu and Putin plotting?

A rumored Israeli-Palestinian summit in Moscow may be a maneuver by Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu to try to thwart a new US initiative.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia June 7, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shipenkov/Pool - RTSGEFC

According to quite a few reports in recent weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to host a summit in Moscow for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The first report appeared in Maariv on July 11 and was confirmed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a press briefing this month as well as by Israeli, Palestinian and Russian officials.

According to sources, the summit is being planned to take place around October or a little later. Is Netanyahu continuing his “pivot to the East” and trying to shore up Russia’s position as an honest broker in the faltering negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians? Is Putin trying to deepen Russia’s renewed penetration in the region? Having inserted Russia in the Syrian conflict, is Putin now trying to erode the United States’ historic role as honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians? It seems that both of these assessments are exaggerated. In general, it is more likely a matter of politics and sophisticated tactical maneuvering on Netanyahu’s part. His goals are completely different from those above.

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