China’s Diplomatic Choices: Implications for Israel-Hamas Conflict Resolution!!!

Implications for Israel-Hamas Conflict Resolution!!!

In March 2023, China played the role of peace broker for the reconciliation agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia. By conducting this deal China helped to normalize diplomatic ties after the longstanding conflict. China is an economic partner of Middle Eastern countries and has affiliated interests. So, China plays a significant role in normalizing any conflict in these areas. Because any inadequate situation can impact China’s concerns, now during the critical situation of the Israel-Hamas conflict, China also offered its services as a mediator for peace negotiations between Israel and Hamas. However, it has some limitations to what China wants to achieve from this situation. 

In May, it arranged individual visits by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu together. This action indicated that China offered itself as a replacement for the United States, which has historic ties with Israel that could hinder its role as a mediator. Unlike the US, China has a long-term policy of non-intervention in its diplomatic relationships.

China played the role of peace broker

China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, had discussions about the conflict with officials in Washington on the weekend. He showed concern to resolve the larger regional dispute. The US committed to supporting China on the way to resolving this issue.

Mr. Wang has also negotiated with his Israeli and Palestinian counterparts on this issue. China has also been in favor of a ceasefire in UN meetings.

Now, there is hope that China can take advantage of its close association with Iran, which assists Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, to stabilize the critical situation. US officials suggested Mr. Wang to “encourage calm” with the Iranians.

Dawn Murphy, an associate professor specializing in Chinese foreign policy at the National War College under the US Department of Defense, indicates that China has strong ties with all countries that are directly or indirectly involved in the conflict, so it could be a better option to choose China as a peace mediator. China has stable relations with the Palestinians, Arabs, Turkey, and Iran. Murphy stressed that, in alliance with the US, which has strong relations with Israel, they could bring all the concerned parties to negotiate on a table.

China has stable relations with the Palestinians, Arabs, Turkey, and Iran

China’s earlier stance on this intensifying issue has disappointed Israel, as it did not criticize Hamas or Israelize Israel’s right to self-defense. 

After noticing the controversy around its initial statement, China’s Foreign Minister, Wang, subsequently shared thoughts to respond to Israel that all countries have the right to defense. However, he also said that Israel’s moves overreached the range of self-defense. In the past, China has made economic reforms to stabilize relations with Israel. It has conducted billion-dollar projects and established economic relationships between the two nations. However, China has always been a supporter of the Palestinian cause. Chinese officials on different occasions have highlighted the necessity of an independent Palestinian state in their statements on the recent conflict.

China has faced many diplomatic challenges due to having sympathy for Palestine. Now the question is this, despite all the challenges that China has encountered throughout, Why is it involving itself in the Israel-Hamas conflict?

One of the significant reasons is China’s economic interest which is linked to the prosperity of the Middle Eastern countries which could be at risk if the conflict intensifies.

China’s economic interest

China has become immensely dependent on foreign oil imports, with roughly half of its oil supply arising from Gulf countries. Middle Eastern nations have also become progressively renowned contributors to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a significant constituent of its foreign and economic policy.

Another reason for China’s diplomatic approach is that it can boost China’s reputation all over the world. China’s stance is that “standing up for the Palestinians resonates with Arab countries, Muslim-majority countries, and large portions of the Global South”, said Dr. Murphy.

Observers conclude that China is determining its relationships to lower the standing positions of its Western rivals. But not openly condemning Hamas, It is criticized by the Israeli allies. There are many challenges that China is facing on this critical issue

China considers that “by saying you support Palestine you’ll score points with Arab countries, and that is a cookie-cutter approach,” said Dr Fulton.

Mr. Wang clearly expressed China’s opinion on this massive issue. He said that: China only seeks peace for the Middle East and has “no selfish interests in the Palestinian cause”. China now faces the challenge of proving itself as a true peace mediator with no hidden interest. 


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