Trump administration apologists are probably delighted today to have discovered a silver lining to the president’s, er, close relationship with Russian president/strongman Vladimir Putin. It seems Vlad is acting as something of a go-between with the Palestinians, who are enraged by Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Haaretz has the story, based on reporting from Reuters:
Putin is hosting Palestinian President Abbas in Moscow today, and he reportedly told Abbas that Trump coveys “his best wishes” to the Palestinian leader, who has been boycotting the U.S. Administration for two months now, ever since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Apparently Putin and Trump spoke by phone just today. It’s unclear whether their visit was directly related to the new buzz about Israel considering an action to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank, which would almost certainly kill an Israeli-Palestinian peace process that’s already on life support. But it sounds like Trump wants Putin to be his back channel to the Palestinians who unsurprisingly no longer consider the U.S. an “honest broker” in its relationship with Israel.
Presumably it’s good for Putin’s ego to be the honest broker between Trump and Abbas. Let’s hope that’s all he’s getting from the U.S. for his services.