China’s balancing act between the two is increasingly difficult to maintain.
By Wang Jin
THE DIPLOMAT - January 10, 2017
As a key state along China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative,
Israel’s unique geographic location, stable political and social order,
as well as advanced technology are vital for China’s successful economic
involvement in the Middle East. At the same time, however, given the
importance of establishing China’s image in international society,
especially among Arab states, China has to support Palestine’s efforts
for independence and statehood. Whenever Israel-Palestine tensions
flare, China has to walk on eggshells to avoid offending either side.
In a recent incident that shocked the Chinese public, Israeli Prime
Minster Benjamin Netanyahu declared his intent to limit diplomatic
relations with China and other states that supported UN Security Council
Resolution No. 2334, which denounced Israeli settlements in
“Palestinian territory… including East Jerusalem.” As a permanent member
state of the UN Security Council, China approved the resolution.
Resolution 2334 was heavily criticized by both the Israeli government
and many Israel political analysts. Their major concern was that the
resolution was unbalanced and did not distinguish between the Western
Wall and Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Many Israelis believed
the resolution rewards Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ efforts to
apply international pressure to Israel and thus makes Abbas less willing
to participate in direct talks with the state.