China appears to be operating with the mistaken assumption that it can be pro-Palestine and pro-Israel at once.
by Ramzy Baroud & Romana Rubeo
Al-Jazeera - 23 Oct 2018
China's Vice President Wang Qishan arrived in Israel on Monday for a four-day visit to head the fourth China-Israel Innovation Committee. He is the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit Israel in nearly two decades. In April 2000, the former president of China, Jiang Zemin was the first Chinese leader to ever visit Israel, touring the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and paying diplomatic dues to his Israeli counterparts. Then, he spoke of China's intentions to cement the bond between the two countries. Wang Qishan's visit, however, is different. The "bond" between Beijing and Tel Aviv is much stronger now than it was then, as expressed in sheer numbers. Soon after the two countries exchanged diplomatic missions in 1992, trade figures began increasing. The size of Chinese investments in Israel also grew exponentially, from $50m in the early 1990s to a whopping $16.5bn according to 2016 estimates. On this visit, Qishan is joined by Jack Ma, founder of China's top e-commerce firm, Alibaba. Ma was also in Israel in May to prepare the ground for the ongoing summit, which is expected to yield massive new investments. Much of these investments will be focused on technology, which makes the nature of the China-Israel relationship different from that which bonded Beijing with Arab countries for decades.