Bolstered by the success of the Saudi-Iran deal earlier this year, China has sought to remain neutral and present itself as a possible mediator in the most recent escalation of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, following the Hamas attack on October 7. For this reason, the Chinese authorities have urged an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, reiterated the two-state solution as the only path to peace, criticized Israel for the injustice inflicted on the Palestinians for more than half a century and described the nature of the current war beyond the scope of legitimate defense.
“China should strike a balance and collaborate with other powers if it wants to play an active mediation role in the war between Israel and Gaza,” said Middle East experts attending a high-level security summit in Beijing. At the Xiangshan Forum, authorities from China, Iran, Ukraine, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan participated in a panel discussion on a new stability architecture for the Middle East, which, they agreed, must be built in a multipolar geopolitical framework. They urged the main powers, including the Asian giant, the United States, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, to collaborate to achieve an immediate ceasefire and prevent the crisis from becoming a humanitarian catastrophe.
Since the escalation of the conflict, Beijing has held telephone conversations, provided humanitarian aid and sent an emissary to the region. But the international community believes that what it should do is help avoid a regional conflagration.
Following the outbreak of violence, Beijing insists that the question of Palestine must be resolved as soon as possible, and that the establishment of an independent Palestinian state is the only way to resolve the problem. They assure that only when the “two-state solution” is fully implemented in the Middle East will true peace be established.
However, Israel stressed that, in a terrorist attack, the Gaza armed forces entered the country and launched an offensive, which caused the death of hundreds of people, including civilians. Therefore, the Israeli side believes that the Chinese position towards Hamas should be stricter. “When people are murdered, massacred in the streets, it is not the time to call for a two-state solution,” he declared. Yuval Waksan Israeli official in Beijing, and added that his country expected a “much stronger condemnation” of the attacks from the communist regime.
In recent years, China’s relations with the Middle East have continued to deepen and its influence in the region has gradually increased. For this reason, many countries attach great importance to their position on the current war.
The involvement of the second largest world economy in the region is not only due to humanitarian concerns, but also to strategic interests. Trade routes, energy security, and economic partnerships are factors that contribute to the country’s involvement in the area. On the other hand, the Palestinian-Israeli struggle shows the complexity of the issues that China faces: a deep-seated empathy for the oppression of the Palestinians, combined with strategic objectives, while in recent years there has been a growing bond with Israel on trade, investment, educational exchanges and tourism.
Beijing’s diplomatic engagement with the Middle East has gained momentum following a global meeting that defended its Belt and Road Initiative, and it has more proactively expressed solidarity with the Palestinians, Arab states and Russians in talks and diplomatic missions.
The Chinese president waited until the closing of the Third Belt and Road Forum to speak out on this serious crisis, reiterating his position that a two-state solution must be applied and demanding the creation of a humanitarian corridor that would allow aid to enter the besieged Gaza Strip. For some, Xi’s stance on the fighting in Gaza is controversial and ambiguous. Still, Beijing has criticized Israel’s widespread bombing of civilians and condemned violations of international law.
The Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, went a step further and called the Israeli bombings against the civilian population of Gaza actions that “have gone beyond the scope of self-defense.” However, Beijing avoided condemning the atrocities committed by Hamas against the civilian population.
As in Ukraine, with its non-interventionist stance, the Asian country is positioning itself as a “neutral” and pacifist great power, in contrast to Washington, which, with its determined support for Israel, presents itself to Beijing “as an influence.” destabilizing and hostile in the region. Chinese state media and heavily censored social media platforms have blamed US involvement in the Middle East as the underlying cause of the violence ravaging Israel and Gaza.
To help alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, China has already provided $1 million in cash through the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Middle East and the Palestinian National Authority separately. Likewise, the Chinese Government is going to provide another batch of emergency aid of 15 million yuan (1.9 million euros), which includes food and medicine, to Gaza, he declared. Xu Weispokesperson for the Chinese Agency for International Development Cooperation.
“China has delivered emergency humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza and is committed to continuing to provide material assistance when necessary,” declared China’s top diplomat, as the death toll in the war between Israel and Hamas continues to rise. “What the people of Gaza need most right now is security, food and medicine, more than war, weapons or ammunition,” Wang Yi said during a telephone conversation on Monday with his Palestinian counterpart. Riyad Al-Maliki.
The first UN peacekeeping mission was created to monitor the truce agreement in the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. Today, these forces are authorized to do much more than observe a ceasefire. They can help protect civilians, maintain civil order, repatriate refugees and rebuild basic services. China, already the largest supplier of peacekeeping troops among the permanent members of the UN Security Council, is well placed to lead this peacemaking effort.
Notably, earlier this year, China helped negotiate an agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia to normalize relations after a seven-year diplomatic rift. As a key economic partner of many Middle Eastern countries and a major buyer of both Saudi and Iranian oil, Beijing’s economic influence and goodwill appeared to be sufficient to mediate future conflicts.
He even offered to mediate between Israel and Palestine in peace negotiations, and received in May, in parallel and separate visits, the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbasand to the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Apparently, his intention was to offer himself as a counterpoint to the United States, whose historical baggage in the region and its close ties with Israel could hinder its role as a peacemaker. In contrast, China has long maintained a policy of non-interference with its diplomatic partners.
Now it would be especially helpful if China used its influence over Iran, which has long supported Hezbollah, to prevent the militant group from opening a war front in northern Israel. It is a more serious threat to Israel than Hamas, due to its vast missile arsenal and thousands of experienced fighters.