China is affirming its support of Palestine with senior officials in Beijing telling their Arab counterparts that Israel is going too far in its response to last week’s attack by Islamic militant group Hamas.
During an Oct. 15 call, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud that China “opposes and condemns” Israeli airstrikes, which have resulted in the deaths of more than 1,100 people, including 326 children.
Yi said that targeted strikes against civilians violate “the basic conscience of mankind and the basic norms of international law,” as well as come at a time when some are debating whether the bombing of Gaza is too heavy-handed of a response.
Other leaders have made similar remarks. Last week, United Nations officials called the bombing campaign “collective punishment” that “indiscriminately targets civilians,” noting that the practice is a violation of international law.
“Israel’s actions have gone beyond self-defense, and we should listen carefully to the appeals of the international community and the Secretary-General of the United Nations to stop the collective punishment of the people of Gaza,” Yi added.
He also urged Israel and Palestinian officials to return to the negotiating table and stop the war.
“The top priority is to make every effort to ensure the safety of civilians, open humanitarian relief channels as soon as possible, and maintain the basic needs of the people of Gaza,” as Yi explained China’s position.
“China believes that the historical injustice against Palestine has continued for more than half a century and cannot continue,” Yi stated. “All peace-loving and fair-talking countries should speak up and clearly request the implementation of the ‘two-state plan’ as soon as possible. China is willing to work with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries to continue to support Palestine’s just cause of restoring national rights, and to promote the return of the Palestinian issue to the correct track of the ‘two-state plan’ and a comprehensive, just and lasting solution.”
China, in positioning for stronger influence in the Middle East, has been drawing closer ties to Palestine. In June, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Beijing, where the pair announced a new bilateral strategic partnership.
Beijing is seeking energy resources, as well as markets for military and civilian exports.
Some experts have suggested that China might have played a role in facilitating last week’s deadly attack against Israel. The purpose is stated to be the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) advancing a long-held agenda of drawing the U.S. into four separate wars, including one against a terrorist organization.