Prior to Russian president Dmitri Medvedev’s visit to the West Bank on Tuesday, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas called the trip “historic” and a top negotiator said he expected Medvedev to reaffirm his country’s recognition of an independent state of Palestine. Russia already recognizes a Palestinian state based on its 1967 borders, but this recognition dates from 1988 when it was part of the now-defunct Soviet Union.In remarks made to the state-run news wire Wafa, Abbas said, “We consider this visit by the president of the Russian Federation a historic one by all measures, as a laurel crowning the heads of the Palestinian people. We are honored and grateful to receive the Russian president here, as an expression of Palestinian-Russian friendship and a confirmation of the depth of the relationship between the Palestinian and Russian peoples.”

According to a report by Israeli online newspaper Ha’aretz, Israeli officials are particularly concerned about this possible development as Russia is a member of the Quartet, the Israel-Palestine negotiating body responsible for the 2002 Roadmap to Peace

President Medvedev is visiting the West Bank on Tuesday but will not be travelling to Israel because of a strike at the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Extreme right-wing Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is reportedly furious with his employees over the embarrassment