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China wants to play bigger role in Israel-Palestine mediation

July 16, 2021 at 2:33 pm

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Moscow, Russia on September 11, 2020. [RUS Foreign Ministry – Anadolu Agency]

China has expressed intentions to step up its involvement in mediating efforts to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict in a move seen by analysts as a challenge to the US.

Speaking yesterday during a virtual Palestinian-Israeli Peace Symposium convened by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China was ready to propose new ideas for peace talks and invite representatives from both sides to negotiate in Beijing.

Yi said that China wanted the Geneva Initiative to play a greater role in expanding dialogue and reaffirmed the two-state solution as the only path towards a resolution. Also known as the Geneva Accords, the 2003 Geneva Initiative is one of the many failed peace plans.

“The past and the present have proved time and again that the two-state solution is the only viable way to resolve the Palestinian question as it represents international consensus, fairness and justice,” Yi said during the virtual conference.

Speaking at the conference, Palestinian Authority (PA) Social Affairs Minister Ahmed Majdalani said that the PA aimed to “implement a set of measures to build confidence between peoples, improve the humanitarian situation and open a real window for negotiations to end the conflict.”

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China is one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council. It’s rise over recent years has seen the Communist Party of China (CPC), emerge as a major challenger to America’s global hegemony.

Over the last two decades, China and Israel have built a close relationship based on investments and economic ties. In that period Beijing has become Israel’s second largest trade partner behind the US. Nevertheless, the CPC has not shied away from adopting a harsher tone on the issue of Palestine.

In 2017, China banned its nationals from taking part in illegal settlement building in the occupied West Bank, even as Chinese contractors were busy working on infrastructure projects in Israel.

During Israel’s 11-day bombardment of Gaza which killed more than 250 people including women and children, China strongly backed the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas and denounced the US for obstructing an attempt by the UN Security Council to speak with one voice on Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Some observers have pointed out that Beijing’s support for the Palestinians is more symbolic and self-serving as it seeks to challenge the US on the global stage. With Palestine enjoying wide support on the international stage, Israel’s ongoing occupation and Washington’s unquestioning support exposes American double standards and undermines its claim to be a moral leader.