Moscow advises restraint following Palestinian-Israeli ceasefire

Moscow advises restraint following Palestinian-Israeli ceasefire
Russian authorities remain cautiously optimistic following a week of increased military activity along the Gaza border.

"We sincerely hope that the sides will return to the lull that existed between them and this situation will prove sustainable," Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said at a press briefing in Moscow on Friday.

Lukashevich’s comments come on the heels of a Cairo-brokered ceasefire between the Palestinians and the Israelis in a week that saw a dramatic escalation of cross-border missile attacks. On Thursday, more than 80 missiles were launched against Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip, injuring at least six people.

Israeli retaliated by carrying out air strikes on the Gaza Strip, killing at least four Hamas members.

Since the beginning of the year, nearly 550 rockets and missiles had been launched from Gaza into southern Israel, according to a statement by the Israeli Defense Force.

Only political and diplomatic solutions are able to help stabilize the situation in the Palestinian-Israeli settlement process, Lukashevich stressed.

Egyptian authorities received a verbal pledge from Hamas that it would honor a ceasefire with Israel.

Last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed its concern over Israeli plans to build more homes in East Jerusalem, calling it “an impediment to resuming Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.”

Settlement construction on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem is illegal under international law, the ministry noted.

A government-appointed commission ruled in June that Israel's 45-year presence in the West Bank “did not amount to occupation.” Now, political analysts fear Prime Minister Netanyahu will us this decision to dramatically boost Israeli settlement construction in the occupied territories.