Israeli-Hamas: China Responds As US Asks Beijing To Deploy Influence In Calming Middle-East

Israeli-Hamas: China Responds As US Asks Beijing To Deploy Influence In Calming Middle-East

7 months ago
2 mins read

The United States on Saturday called on China, a partner of Iran, to use its influence to push for calm in the Middle-East. Beijing responded by calling on Washington to play a constructive and responsible role, creating the avenue for a political settlement as soon as possible.

Prime Business Africa reports that 50 years and a day after the start of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, hundreds of Hamas gunmen attacked Israel from Gaza at dawn on Saturday, on the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah. The Iran-backed Islamists said they fired around 5,000 rockets into Israel.

The offensive, dubbed “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood”, saw them breach security fences surrounding the heavily fortified enclave using explosives and bulldozers. They then streamed into Israel on motorbikes, pickup trucks, motorised gliders and speed boats, targeting nearby communities in the south.

Israel said about 270 were killed in total. By the next day, Israel declared war on Hamas, firing thousands of munitions at Gaza targets from land, air and sea, flattening entire neighbourhoods and sending frightened residents fleeing for safety.

READ ALSO: Israel-Hamas Conflict: 2 Hamas Commanders Killed As Death Toll In Gaza Rises

Citing Palestinian authorities, the United Nations humanitarian agency OCHA said more than 2,500 homes have been destroyed or made uninhabitable by the bombing.

According to State Department spokesman, Matthew Miller, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was visiting Saudi Arabia, had a “productive” one-hour telephone call with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Miller told reporters on Blinken’s plane from Riyadh to Abu Dhabi that “our message was that he thinks it’s in our shared interest to stop the conflict from spreading.”

“He thought it could be useful if China could use its influence.”

China has a warm relationship with Iran, whose clerical leadership supports both Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group ruling Gaza that carried out grisly attacks inside Israel a week ago, and Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group that could open a second front against Israel.

Responding, Wang told the top US diplomat that America should “play a constructive and responsible role, pushing the issue back on track for a political settlement as soon as possible,” according to a readout published by the Chinese foreign ministry.

“When dealing with international hot-spot issues, major countries must adhere to objectivity and fairness, maintain calmness and restraint, and take the lead in abiding by international law,” said Wang.

The Chinese foreign minister added that Beijing called for “the convening of an international peace meeting as soon as possible to promote the reaching of broad consensus.”

READ ALSO: Israel-Gaza Shame: A Festering Cancer To Global Peace

“The fundamental outlet for the Palestinian issue lies in implementing a ‘two-state solution’,” Wang said.

China’s official statements on the conflict have not specifically named Hamas in their condemnations of violence, leading to criticism from some Western officials who said they were too weak.

The United States considers China to be its main global challenger but the two powers have been working to stabilise their relationship, with Blinken paying a rare visit to Beijing in June.

Miller said the Middle-East was an example of areas where the two world powers could work together.

The phone call also included a discussion on China-US relations, which have been heavily strained in recent years by a range of thorny trade and geopolitical issues.

But Wang suggested there were some positive signs, disclosing that: “China and the United States have recently carried out a series of high-level contacts, and bilateral relations appear to have stopped sliding and to stabilise.”

“(This) has been welcomed by the people of the two countries and the international community,” Wang said.


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