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Can Russia succeed with Palestinians where Egypt has failed?

Moscow has expressed its interest in facilitating an intra-Palestinian reconciliation as well as furthering Palestinian-Israeli relations, but Israel remains wary of such efforts.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) welcomes his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki (L) ahead of their meeting, in Moscow, on December 21, 2018. (Photo by Alexander NEMENOV / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia hosted Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki in Moscow on Dec. 21 for talks focusing on bilateral relations, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the intra-Palestinian reconciliation talks mediated by Egypt. There hasn't been much progress on the latter two issues, and Israel is less than enthusiastic about Russian efforts in regard to them.

A reconciliation between Hamas, which controls Gaza, and Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority (PA), which controls the West Bank, appears to be dead in the water despite Egypt's efforts to keep it alive. Russia has also reached out to both parties. Visits by high-ranking PA officials to Russia have become routine. PA President Mahmoud Abbas himself has been to the Russian capital twice this year, and Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas' political bureau, is set to visit early next year.

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