Israel, Vladimir Putin and Middle East Peace

Russian President Vladimir Putin's trip this week to Israel will be the first ever by a Russian president. An elated Israel Vice Premier Shimon Peres described Putin's visit as 'historic,' stating, 'This is a sign of the changes that have occurred in Russia itself, in Israel—Russia relations and in Russian policy in the Middle East.'  During his visit to Israel, President Putin will meet with Israeli President Mosha Katsav, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom. Putin is also scheduled to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, meet with Jewish Red Army WWII veterans and visit the Russian Orthodox Church at Gethsemane. Russia has a checkered history with Israel which makes Putin's visit extremely intriguing. During the 1948 Arab—Israeli War, Russia helped Israel obtain arms to fight a contingent of hostile countries that included Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Jordan. However, after this initial cooperation, relations between the two countries...(Read Full Article)