How China Views the Abraham Accords

Nov. 10 2020

Due to its need for oil, its trade with Middle Eastern countries, and its massive infrastructure plans, Beijing has, on the one hand, an abiding interest in regional stability. On the other hand, it seeks to reduce American influence in the Middle East. China thus could see both advantages and disadvantages in the recent normalization agreements between Israel and three Arab states. Examining the writings of Chinese analysts—who don’t have much latitude to deviate from their government’s views—Tuvia Gering tries to assess what the Communist country thinks of recent developments:

China needs a U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf, and the Middle East more broadly, to ensure that shipping lanes remain open, especially for oil exiting the Gulf. In addition, Sun Chengchao of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations argues that China prefers that U.S. naval forces be busy in the Mideast, which makes it more difficult for Washington to divert forces to the Pacific theater.

[Yet] Chinese support for normalization may be ill-received by Iran, Turkey, and the Palestinians. [All three] are important to China for balancing American hegemony in the Middle East. Turkey and Iran back Beijing in the international arena on topics such as the Uighur concentration camps in Xinjiang. This is especially true of Iran, which is a cheap source of energy. Iran’s relatively large and educated population and its location in the Persian Gulf—and at the junction between Europe and Central Asia—could make it an important geostrategic junction for the Belt and Road Initiative, [China’s massive trans-Asian infrastructure project], and make it a lucrative investment arena.

In other words, the “Abraham Accords” are a catch-22 for the Chinese. If China chooses to embrace the American vision it could damage its geopolitical interests, and if it rejects it, it could jeopardize the stability it needs for economic growth. China is trying to grab the rope at both ends. It strives to remain friendly with all countries to sustain economic development and wants to project to its citizens and the international community an image of a proactive great power. Consequently, China will continue to challenge the U.S. on international issues, such as the Palestinian question.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Abraham Accords, China, Israel-China relations, Middle East


President Biden Should Learn the Lessons of Past U.S. Attempts to Solve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Sept. 21 2023

In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Joe Biden addressed a host of international issues, mentioning, inter alia, the “positive and practical impacts” resulting from “Israel’s greater normalization and economic connection with its neighbors.” He then added that the U.S. will “continue to work tirelessly to support a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians—two states for two peoples.” Zach Kessel experiences some déjà vu:

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and review how past U.S.-brokered talks between Jerusalem and [Palestinian leaders] have gone down, starting with 1991’s Madrid Conference, organized by then-President George H.W. Bush. . . . Though the talks, which continued through the next year, didn’t get anywhere concrete, many U.S. officials and observers across the world were heartened by the fact that Madrid was the first time representatives of both sides had met face to face. And then Palestinian militants carried out the first suicide bombing in the history of the conflict.

Then, in 1993, Bill Clinton tried his hand with the Oslo Accords:

In the period of time directly after the Oslo Accords . . . suicide bombings on buses and in crowded public spaces became par for the course. Clinton invited then-Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat and then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to Camp David in 2000, hoping finally to put the conflict to rest. Arafat, who quite clearly aimed to extract as many concessions as possible from the Israelis without ever intending to agree to any deal—without even putting a counteroffer on the table—scuttled any possibility of peace. Of course, that’s not the most consequential event for the conflict that occurred in 2000. Soon after the Camp David Summit fell apart, the second intifada began.

Since Clinton, each U.S. president has entered office hoping to put together the puzzle that is an outcome acceptable to both sides, and each has failed. . . . Every time a deal has seemed to have legs, something happens—usually terrorist violence—and potential bargains are scrapped. What, then, makes Biden think this time will be any different?

Read more at National Review

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Joe Biden, Palestinian terror, Peace Process