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13 Jan, 2024 01:00

Is China hatching a sinister plot regarding the Israel-Gaza war?

Some have accused Beijing of trying to score political points in the Global South by not supporting Israel
Is China hatching a sinister plot regarding the Israel-Gaza war?

A recent Foreign Affairs article purports to expose “China’s game in Gaza,” accusing Beijing of “Exploiting Israel’s War to Win Over the Global South.”

The author alleges that “in calling for a two-state solution, refusing to condemn Hamas, and making symbolic efforts to support a ceasefire, [China] has taken advantage of global anti-Israeli sentiment in a bid to elevate its own standing in the Global South.”

This argument is interesting, because it is premised on the logic that the war on Gaza can end quickly if Beijing simply supports the US position, which the article claims is “to reconcile public support for Israel with private pressure to more carefully target its attacks in Gaza and to be more open to a political settlement with the Palestinians.” So let’s get this right, it’s the US that wants to end this conflict fairly and China is exacerbating it and therefore is at fault?

This kind of analysis is farfetched at best and outright dishonest at worst, and overall an insult to every observer’s intelligence. It really shows the lengths to which the mainstream cycle of journalists and think-tankers will go in order to not place any blame on Israel whatsoever, but to scapegoat third parties who do not in fact have a hand in the conflict. China has always taken a neutral position on the Israel-Palestine issue, though it recognizes the State of Palestine’s sovereign existence, and therefore advocates a two-state solution.

However, the situation really doesn’t need China at all in order to ferment an anti-Israeli and anti-US backlash across the Global South. The US and its allies have managed to do that all by themselves. China’s rhetoric on the issue has been inconsequential and certainly hardly provocative.

First of all, the Foreign Affairs article takes the misleading State Department position that the US is some kind of honest broker and mediator in the Israel-Palestine conflict that just wants the two sides to make up and get along. This is an absolute lie. All the US has offered is unconditional, uncritical and blanket support to Israel which Benjamin Netanyahu has calculated allows him to do whatever he wants, effectively consequence-free. Will the US actually sanction Israel? Will the US condemn Israel at the UN? Will the US stop arming Israel? Absolutely not, and he knows this, therefore anything Washington might claim in regards to sparing civilians or talking about a ceasefire is hollow because it is not backed up by any substance. Israel is allowed to do whatever it sees fit, because placing any restraints on it is domestically politically untenable in the US, as well as in allied countries such as the UK.

Therefore, even if it wanted to, how could China possibly end the conflict, let alone be responsible for it? It is the scenes of unprecedented, Western-backed slaughter and carnage in Gaza that are provoking outrage in the Global South, and the reality that Israel is a law unto itself. This backlash is entirely and exclusively Western-generated and there is no conspiracy nor agenda by China as a neutral player to exploit it. In fact, if China were serious, it would be actively whipping up anti-Israeli sentiment, but it is not doing so because Beijing for the most part is restrained and has little to say on third-party issues.

Rather, China’s alignment with the Global South is a historic trend given Beijing itself is a part of the Global South from the days of its revolutionary heritage, the common experience of colonialism, and therefore the desire to sustain sovereignty and independence from Western domination. This forms a common position with the states of the Middle East, Africa and Latin America on Palestine, with the latter being the most prominent example of Western-led colonial oppression in the world. The situation in Gaza is a Western-backed injustice and set of atrocities, which in turn reveals the double standards of these countries who purport to be the champions of freedom and human rights.

In this case, China doesn’t need to say anything regarding Gaza to inflame the Global South because the situation really is quite self-explanatory. The US is costing itself support throughout the Global South by showing that it is an enabler of genocide through the unconditional political and military backing it grants the Israeli state, yet here in Foreign Affairs we have the lopsided rendition that really it’s just all China’s fault, as usual.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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