China’s Growing Interest in the Palestinian Cause Won’t Benefit Israel

Aug. 23 2021

Last month, the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, made his second trip to the Middle East this year, visiting Algeria, Egypt, and Syria. High on Wang’s agenda, according to Galia Lavi, was promoting his country’s coronavirus vaccine, along with Beijing’s ambitious infrastructure and economic projects for the region. He also had a third priority: the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Lavi writes:

Chinese statements show that it sees the Palestinian issue at the heart of the Middle East’s problems, and [believes, or at least claims to believe, that] lasting peace and security in the region depend on its resolution. . . . During [Wang’s] visit to Egypt in July, he put forward three ideas for achieving a two-state solution: enhancing the status of the Palestinian Authority; supporting the unity of Palestinian factions; and encouraging the resumption of peace talks based on the two-state solution.

China . . . identifies the Israel-Palestinian conflict as [the basis for rhetorical appeals to] Arab and Muslim audiences, [and] seeks to create for itself the image of a responsible power that stands beside an oppressed minority and offers to help achieve a solution for the benefit of both sides. Thus, the Israel-Palestinian conflict joins the list of topics that China can use to taunt the United States, while also playing down criticism of its own treatment of its Uyghur minority.

So far, Israel and China have been fairly successful at maintaining a policy that separates economic relations and mutual benefits from political disagreements. Thus, China continues to support Iran and the Palestinians, with no significant harm to its economic relations with Israel. . . . But as the rivalry between China and the U.S. grows, Beijing is expected to step up its efforts to cast Washington as a two-faced and irresponsible power while brushing away any criticisms relating to human rights. In this sense, the Israel-Palestinian conflict is very useful, and China’s position has broad international support even among some U.S. allies.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: China, Israel-China relations, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Iran’s Four-Decade Strategy to Envelope Israel in Terror

Yesterday, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—was in Washington meeting with officials from the State Department, CIA, and the White House itself. Among the topics no doubt discussed are rising tensions with Iran and the possibility that the latter, in order to defend its nuclear program, will instruct its network of proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq and Yemen to attack the Jewish state. Oved Lobel explores the history of this network, which, he argues, predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution—when Shiite radicals in Lebanon coordinated with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s movement in Iran:

An inextricably linked Iran-Syria-Palestinian axis has actually been in existence since the early 1970s, with Lebanon the geographical fulcrum of the relationship and Damascus serving as the primary operational headquarters. Lebanon, from the 1980s until 2005, was under the direct military control of Syria, which itself slowly transformed from an ally to a client of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The nexus among Damascus, Beirut, and the Palestinian territories should therefore always have been viewed as one front, both geographically and operationally. It’s clear that the multifront-war strategy was already in operation during the first intifada years, from 1987 to 1993.

[An] Iranian-organized conference in 1991, the first of many, . . . established the “Damascus 10”—an alliance of ten Palestinian factions that rejected any peace process with Israel. According to the former Hamas spokesperson and senior official Ibrahim Ghosheh, he spoke to then-Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi at the conference and coordinated Hizballah attacks from Lebanon in support of the intifada. Further important meetings between Hamas and the Iranian regime were held in 1999 and 2000, while the IRGC constantly met with its agents in Damascus to encourage coordinated attacks on Israel.

For some reason, Hizballah’s guerilla war against Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s was, and often still is, viewed as a separate phenomenon from the first intifada, when they were in fact two fronts in the same battle.

Israel opted for a perilous unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, which Hamas’s Ghosheh asserts was a “direct factor” in precipitating the start of the second intifada later that same year.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: First intifada, Hizballah, Iran, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada