(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Russian Ambassador to Israel, Alexander Shein, refused to call Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations but rather "radical organizations which sometimes adhere to extremist political views" in an interview on Israeli TV last week (June 9).
In an interview with Channel 9, the Russian-language Israeli TV channel, the Russian envoy stated that "we do not consider these organizations to be terrorists."
In the same interview, edited and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Shein also disputed the claim that ISIS can be equated with Hamas and Hezbollah.
"The Supreme Court [of Russia], following an appeal by the prosecution, defines terrorist organizations as such when they intentionally conduct acts of terror in Russian territory, or against Russian interests abroad," explained the Russian representative.
Despite pressure from the United States
, Russian officials have repeatedly stated that Hamas and Hezbollah, which are allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad, will not be designated as terrorist organizations. Hamas and Hezbollah, or some of their sections, are designated as terrorist organizations by the European Union, the US, Britain, Canada and Australia, among others.
Despite being drawn to condemn indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas, the envoy repeated that "we do not consider them to be terrorists at all."