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

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


Spain’s Anti-Israel Agenda

What interest does Madrid have in the creation of a Palestinian state? Elliott Abrams raised this question a few days ago, when discussing ongoing Spanish efforts to block the transfer of arms to Israel. He points to multiple opinion surveys suggesting that Spain is among Europe’s most anti-Semitic countries:

The point of including that information here is to explain the obvious: Spain’s anti-Israel extremism is not based in fancy international political analyses, but instead reflects both the extreme views of hard-left parties in the governing coalition and a very traditional Spanish anti-Semitism. Spain’s government lacks the moral standing to lecture the state of Israel on how to defend itself against terrorist murderers. Its effort to deprive Israel of the means of defense is deeply immoral. Every effort should be made to prevent these views from further infecting the politics and foreign policy of the European Union and its member states.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Anti-Semitism, Europe and Israel, Palestinian statehood, Spain