A joint declaration, signed Tuesday between Russia and China during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China, urged Israel and Palestine to return to the negotiating table for peace talks.Since the Hamas party won Palestinian legislative elections in January, Israeli leaders have issued threats and ultimatums, which included taking unilateral actions in the West Bank and Gaza, killing over 50 Palestinians in air strikes and invasions, and accelerating settlement expansion and Annexation Wall construction in the Palestinian West Bank.

In the joint Russian-Chinese statement, the leadership of the two countries declared, "The parties support an early resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiating process, ultimately leading to the formation of a sovereign, democratic and viable Palestinian state, living side by side with Israel in peace and security."

Russia and China "are unanimous in thinking that a fair, comprehensive and firm settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict is a common strategic goal that can be attained only through negotiations, based on international law, on the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and on the ‘land for peace’ principle," the joint declaration says.

Russia is a member of the ‘Quartet for Mideast Peace’, made up of the US, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia, but the Russian President was chastised last month by the Quartet for making overtures to the newly-elected Hamas party.  The US and Israel consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization, because the military wing of the Party has taken credit for over 50 attacks on Israel since 2000.  Since February of last year, Hamas has held to a truce made with Israel, despite the fact that Israeli forces violated the truce on hundreds of occasions, killing over 180 Palestinians in the past year alone.

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