Why China Opposes Middle East Peacemaking

Nov. 23 2020

Shortly after the United Arab Emirates and Israel announced their normalization of relations, the Chinese foreign minister expressed opposition to peace deals between Israel and the Gulf states, calling instead for the resurrection of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and the creation of a mechanism for “collective security” in the Middle East. Addressing the UN Security Council in October, Wang backed down somewhat, instead making vague appeals to “good neighborliness” and promoting stability “without the intervention of biased non-Gulf players.” Tuvia Gering comments:

China views Donald Trump’s [diplomacy] in the Middle East and the recent breakthroughs in the Gulf as limiting its influence. . . . China seeks a multipolar alternative that challenges the Western-led “traditional security concept” enabled by “American hegemony” and [wishes] to replace it with a Chinese-led “shared security concept.”

Specifically, Beijing continues to support the Iran deal and reject sanctions against the Islamic Republic. China is expected to encourage the incoming Biden administration to rejoin the nuclear deal and end Trump’s strategy of “maximum pressure.”

For China, a U.S. military presence is necessary for keeping the Gulf calm, but the [Biden] administration’s skepticism of Egypt and Saudi Arabia (relating mainly to human rights) could force these countries to extend cooperation with their “comprehensive strategic partner,” China, in fields other than economy and trade. . . . Israel must do everything in its power to raise its concerns with the new administration in this regard. It would be a mistake to engage Iran at the expense of American regional security partners. Doing so would boost China’s foray into the region and undermine the positive momentum of the Abraham Accords.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Abraham Accords, Iran, 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