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Israel's Netanyahu, Putin to hold call over Hamas war ahead of Russian president's trip to China

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin are to speak by phone Monday before Putin's trip to Beijing this week.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin will likely speak during a phone call Monday evening, a senior official tells Fox News. 

The call will represent the first time the two leaders will speak since Hamas' surprise Oct. 7 attacks on Israeli civilians prompted Israel to declare war against the Gaza-based terror group.

Netanyahu and Putin will speak before the Russian president is expected to meet this week with Chinese leaders in Beijing on a visit that underscores China’s support for Moscow during its war in Ukraine. Russia and China have forged an informal alliance against the United States and other democratic nations that is now complicated by the Israel-Hamas war. 

China has sought to balance its ties with Israel with its economic relations with Iran and Syria, which are strongly backed by Russia. Putin’s visit is also a show of support for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to build infrastructure and expand China’s overseas influence.


The Biden administration deployed Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the Middle East to meet with Arab leaders in hopes of deterring a wider-ranging conflict amid the war in Israel, as Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah has been exchanging fire with Israelis along the country's northern border with Lebanon, raising concerns of the opening of a second front. 

Meanwhile, Netanyahu, whose forces have been pummeling the Gaza Strip with retaliatory air strikes, is readying a planned ground operation against Hamas this week. 

Blinken, while traveling in the Mideast over the weekend, called Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to ask Beijing to use whatever influence it has in the region to keep other countries and groups from entering the conflict and broadening it, according to the State Department, which declined to characterize Wang’s response. China is known to have close trade and political ties with Iran, which in turn supports Hamas and Hezbollah.

During a call with an adviser to the Brazilian president, Wang had come out more strongly for the Palestinians compared to his Chinese counterparts, saying that "the crux of the matter is that justice has not been done to the Palestinian people."

"This conflict once again proved in an extremely tragic manner that the way to solve the Palestinian issue lies in resuming genuine peace talks as soon as possible and realizing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian nation," Wang said, according to The Associated Press. 

China's Middle East envoy, Zhai Jun, talked to Palestinian and Egyptian officials by phone this past week, calling for an immediate cease-fire and humanitarian support for the Palestinian people. Zhai also called Israeli officials to say China "has no selfish interests on the Palestinian issue but has always stood on the side of peace, on the side of fairness and justice." He said that "China is willing to work with the international community to promote peace and encourage talks."


Putin will be among the highest profile guests at a gathering marking the 10th anniversary of Xi’s announcement of the BRI policy, which has laden countries such as Zambia and Sri Lanka with heavy debt after they signed contracts with Chinese companies to build roads, airports and other public works they could not otherwise afford.

Putin’s visit has not been officially confirmed, according to the AP, but Chinese officials have suggested he will arrive late Monday.

In June, Xi hosted the Palestinian president in Beijing and invited the Israeli prime minister for an official state visit. 

Netanyahu accepted, and China was on track for a bigger role in the region, but Hamas attacks against Israel have made Netanyahu’s planned late October trip uncertain. China’s stated neutrality on the war has upset Israel, but Beijing may gain in the long run by forging closer ties with Arab countries, experts told the AP. 

Netanyahu has invited President Biden to visit Israel amid the war against Hamas. 

Just weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February, Putin met with Xi in Beijing and the sides signed an agreement pledging a "no-limits" relationship. Beijing’s attempts to present itself as a neutral peace broker in Russia’s war on Ukraine have been widely dismissed by the international community.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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