Last week, the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas took a four-day trip to China. There he met with Xi Jinping, who affirmed his interest in “playing a greater role in promoting internal reconciliation in Palestine and realizing peace in the Middle East.” The two also concluded agreements on economic and technological cooperation and announced that their relations would be upgraded to a “strategic partnership.” Jordyn Haime comments:
Abbas’s visit was largely symbolic and more about China affirming its position in the Middle East and on the global stage rather than brokering a realistic peace deal.
Xi offered to mediate Israeli-Palestine peace talks and put forward a three-point proposal that advocates an independent Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital, more economic support for Palestinians, and a continued peace process. He also expressed interest in playing an “active part” in intra-Palestinian reconciliation, [which would involve] groups like Hamas or Hizballah that China has refused to treat as terrorist organizations.
“China is biased, contrary to [the image] it would like to portray,” [the expert on Chinese Middle East policy] Tuvia Gering said. “It absolves Palestinians of agency and responsibility for the conflict, fails to grasp local dynamics, and ignores Israel’s security challenges in its battle against terrorism.”
The first clause in a five-point joint declaration issued by both sides last week affirmed that the Palestinian Authority adheres to the one-China principle and supports China’s policies in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. “Xinjiang-related issues are not human-rights issues, but issues of anti-terrorism, de-radicalization, and anti-separatism. The Palestinian side firmly opposes using Xinjiang-related issues as an excuse to interfere with Chinese internal affairs,” it read.