Mideast peace? China offers to mediate between Israel and Palestine
Palestinians weep after taking the last look at the body of Hamza al-Ashqar, 17, during his funeral in the Askar refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus, Feb. 7, 2023. The Palestinian Health Ministry says that Israeli troops killed the teenager, who died of a gunshot wound to the head during a raid. | Majdi Mohammed / AP

China’s foreign minister told his Israeli and Palestinian counterparts that his country is ready to help facilitate the first peace talks between the two sides in more than a decade.

In separate phone calls to the two officials on Monday, Qin Gang expressed China’s concern over intensifying tensions between Israel and Palestinians and its support for a resumption of peace talks, the Foreign Ministry said in statements issued late the same day.

Last month, Saudi Arabia and Iran reached a deal brokered by China to restore diplomatic ties that were cut off in 2016. This increases the chances of a new peace process in the war in Yemen, which was a proxy conflict between the two nations.

Qin stressed in his talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen that Saudi Arabia and Iran have set a good example of overcoming differences through dialogue, the statement said. He told Cohen that Beijing encourages Israel and the Palestinians to show political courage and take steps to resume peace talks.

“China is willing to provide convenience for this,” he was quoted as saying.

Cohen expressed his country’s commitment to reducing tensions, but said the problem appeared to be difficult to resolve in the short term, the Chinese Foreign Ministry statement said.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said that the two diplomats discussed “the importance of maintaining quiet at the Temple Mount, particularly in the final days of Ramadan,” the Muslim holy month, but made no mention of peace talks with the Palestinians.

Qin also told Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riyad al-Maliki that China is willing to play an active role in the resumption of talks, a second statement said.

This month, violence in Israel and the West Bank has increased, touched off by an Israeli police raid on Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site, the compound home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Morning Star

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Roger McKenzie
Roger McKenzie

Roger McKenzie is the International Editor of Morning Star, Britain’s daily socialist newspaper. He is the author of the book "African Uhuru: The Fight for African Freedom in the Rise of the Global South" published by Manifesto Press.