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China Wants to Replace US As Mediator of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a “strategic partnership” with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, withAbbas currently visiting China for four days. Abbas is the first Arab leader to visit China in a state visit this year, and this is Abbas’ fifth such visit to China, according to Chinese media.The strategic partnership reportedly includes laying a framework for future negotiations on free trade, humanitarian aid and development projects.

China looks intent on using this strategic partnership as a springboard for greater influence in the IsraeliPalestinian conflict. China’s vision of brokering an Israeli-Palestinian peace comes with a strong bias based on flawed logic that will doom it to fail. But China will attempt to resuscitate the IsraeliPalestinian peace process regardless as a tool to upend US influence in the Middle East, much like it accomplished with its brokering a détente between Iran and Saudi Arabia and its supporting role in Syria’s re-integration into the Arab League.

While China Claims Objectivity, it Reveals its Bias

Chinese officials and experts are quick to claim that China will be an unbiased mediator in seeking Israeli-Palestinian peace. China’s vision of this peace is “non-imposing and fair,” according to a Turkish expert as cited by Global Times. According to Li Shaoxian, director of Ningxia University’s China-Arab Research Institute, “China is a friend to both Palestine and Israel, so it can exert influence upon both sides while remaining impartial and objective,” as cited by China Daily. “Chinacares for lasting stability in the region and acts out of international justice, according to a “former special envoy of the Chinese government on Middle East issues” as cited by Global Times.

But in fact, China is quite biased towards the Palestinian cause. According to Xi, China and “Palestine” are “good friends and good partners who trust and support each other, as cited by Global Times. According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, Abbas is an “old and good friend of the Chinese people,” as cited by China Daily. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang referred to the “just cause of Palestine, while Xi, Qin, and Wang all referred to the “legitimate national rights” of the Palestinians, yet these officials ignore the jihadist, anti-Israel, and anti-Jewish tenor of the Palestinian national movement.

Global Times also cited that 80 percent of Palestinians favor a Chinese role in brokering a peace, but did not mention how popular Chinese mediation is among Israelis.

China’s Bias will Not Bring Peace

This glaring Chinese bias towards the Palestinians indicates that any Chinese initiated peace deal will be doomed to fail, as it is based on several false premises.

The first false premise is that it is Israel that must initiate peace. Wu Sike, former special envoy of the Chinese Government on Middle East issues, implied that Israel believes that it can achieve peace by only solving the problems with the use of force” and that “[a] long-term and sustainable peace that serves the fundamental interests of Israel needs to be realized via a political solution with Palestinians, as cited by Global Times.Key facts that Wu omits are the Palestinian incessant use of force (via suicide bombers, rockets, kidnappings, and terror tunnels against Israel), and the number of times that the international community and Israel have offered a political solution – Arab sovereignty west of the Jordan Riveronly to be rejected.

The second false premise is that the IsraeliPalestinian conflict is the center of the Middle East conflict. This claim, taken together with the first, translates to the false assumption that Israel is the primary obstacle to Middle East peace. According to Wang, the issue of “Palestine” is “at the heart of the Middle East issue, and matters to the regions peace and stability and international equity and justice, as quoted in China Daily. This is demonstrably false, as Wang ignores the much bloodier conflictsthroughout the Middle East since 1948 that have nothing to do with Israel.

China’s fixation on the two-state solution is also highly problematic. According to Xi, Israeli-Palestinian peace must be focused on achieving the establishment of an independent state of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty on the basis of the 1967 borders and with east Jerusalem as its capital. This contrasts sharply with Israel’s long-standing principles that Jerusalem will forever be Israel’s united capital and that Israel will retain the Jordan Valley and key neighborhoods in Judea and Samaria that are beyond the 1949 armistice lines between Israel and Jordan (these were never formal “borders”), and that there are currently approximately 700,000 Israelis living beyond those armistice lines.

China Seeks to Upend American Influence in Middle East

China’s press coverage shows that China seeks to use Abbas’ visit to China and China’s vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace toreduce American influence in the Middle East. According to the Global Times, President Trump’s Deal of the Century was “…‘a mark of shame’ rather than an agreement,” while another Global Times article referred to the proposal as “based on the unconditional surrender of the Palestinians.”

Chinese press indicates that China has broader visions in the region, including aims to replace the Abraham Accords. One Global Times article, stated that China seeks to establish “…a platform for the Gulf region for controlling and managing potential crises through collective consultation, and that many Arab states have responded positively to the Global Security Initiative.” According to the concept paper of the Global Security Initiative, China seeks to enfranchise the region in  “jointly establish[ing] a new security framework in the Middle East.

China’s broader vision for the region also includes appeasingIranian ambitions. A Chinese professor at Fudan University said “the foundation of US strategy on Middle East is to use the US-Israel-Saudi alliance to confront Iran, and China’s mediation on Saudi-Iran ties breaks the foundation of US strategy,” according to Global Times. Another Chinese professor at the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs Universityimplied that the Chinese brokered Saudi ArabiaIran détente will in turn bring a détente between the Palestinian Authority (traditionally backed by Saudi Arabia) and Hamas and other groups traditionally backed by Iran, according to that same article. This suggests that China would support increased jihadist infiltration of Judea and Samaria, and even a Hamas/PA unity government.

In this way, the Chinese vision for “Palestine” and the Middle East more generally will be to the benefit of Iran and to the detriment of Israel and the United States.

 

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China

Rejecting Détente Offer, China Throws Shade at Taiwan’s New President

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Follow Steve Postal: @HebraicMosaic

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China’s propaganda machine has responded to Taiwan President Lai Ching-te’s inauguration address, which was conciliatory to the mainland, with belligerence. Rather than accepting Lai’s olive branch of détente based on mutual respect, China used Lai’s inauguration speech to slander the new president, claim that he does not have the mandate of his own people, and threaten to use force on the island.

China Slanders Taiwan’s New President

China reacted to Lai’s inauguration speech by slandering the new Taiwanese president. A Global Times article asserted that Lai “wants to deceive Taiwan residents,” and is “malicious.” Chen Binhua, a spokesperson for China’s State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, stated that Lai has “an extremely arrogant attitude and more radical views,” and that Lai’s inauguration speech was “[f]ull of hostility and provocation and made up of lies and deception,” according to another Global Times article. Similarly, Zhu Fenglian, another spokesperson for China’s State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, called Lai’s actions “vile,” according to a third Global Times article. A China Daily editorial labelled him a “diehard separatist, ” while another China Daily editorial called Lai’s quest for Taiwan’s independence an “evil pursuit.”

China Claims Lai Doesn’t Speak for the People of Taiwan

Despite Lai winning Taiwan’s democratic election, China portrayed Lai as going against the will of his people. Chen Binhua, a spokesperson for the China’s State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, called Lai is  “a traitor to mainstream public opinion on the island and a disruptor of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” according to Global Times. Zhu Fenglian, another spokesperson for China’s State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, stated that “insightful individuals in Taiwan have expressed deep concern” about Lai, “reflecting the shared sentiments of the majority of Taiwan compatriots,” and that Lai’s colleagues in the DPP party are “in fact very insecure and fear that compatriots on both sides of the Straits will come closer together,” according to Global Times.

China Threatens to Use Force on Taiwan

China also responded to Lai’s inaugural speech by issuing threats and not-so-veiled threats to use force against Taiwan. One Global Times article stated that “Lai’s ‘Taiwan independence’ remarks are playing with fire, and those who play with fire will be bound to get themselves burned.” According to China Daily, the naval exercises conducted around Taiwan by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from May 23-24 in response to Lai’s speech were “legitimate countermeasures” that send “a clear message that [the PLA] will prevent ‘Taiwan independence’ at all costs.” Another China Daily article stated that the Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun “…left no one in any doubt that should it prove necessary Beijing will not hesitate to use force to quash any bid to divide the nation. Calling the separatists’ pursuit of ‘independence’ an act of self-destruction, he stated unequivocally that ‘Whoever dares to sever Taiwan from China will be crushed.’”

Another Global Times article maintained that “[t]he actions of the Lai authorities will definitely invite lessons and countermeasures from the mainland” and that “[i]f Lai tries to escalate tensions in the coming years, the mainland will respond and use all available tools to make the Taiwan authorities pay a heavy price.” A third Global Times article, quoting “analysts” stated that “the pursuit of ‘Taiwan independence’ is a futile endeavor that will lead to detrimental and calamitous consequences for Taiwan island.”

Rather than accepting Lai’s reasonable offer to resume cordial relations based on mutual respect, China has chosen to ratchet up its propaganda attacks against the island. As China continues to beat the drums of war, will Taiwan hold the line?

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