China has replaced the US as Israel's leading source of imports sparking further concern over the occupation state's deepening ties with the Communist Party in Beijing.
Data released recently by Israel's National Bureau of Statistics shows that imports from China increased by 40 per cent last year and reached $10.7 billion. The same data shows that Israel's imports from the US, previously its largest import source, totalled $8.2 billion, which is a slight increase from 2020.
The new data comes as Israel comes under pressure to be clear about its foreign policy priorities and to keep the US administration informed about its trade deals with Beijing. Though the US has not made explicit demands, it's reported that President Joe Biden is concerned about deepening ties with China and Israel.
With Beijing accused of carrying out a campaign of genocide against its Uyghur Muslim population, Western governments have adopted a strategy of containment and have taken steps to push back against its growing influence. Sanctions imposed on officials in Beijing are part of that effort as is the AUKUS Security Pact with the UK and Australia.
Israel however has continued to deepen ties with Beijing. In 2021 the occupation state dropped its signature from a UN statement condemning China's human rights violations against the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province, including torture, forced sterilisation and forced disappearances.
Forty-three countries signed the statement, including Turkey, Japan, Canada, Germany, the US and Britain. They expressed concern at "credible-based reports" of the existence of "re-education camps" in Xinjiang.