update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

China to host Arab leaders with Palestinian issue on the agenda

Beijing has been critical of Israel throughout the current Hamas war.

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo by Gil Corzo/Shutterstock.
Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo by Gil Corzo/Shutterstock.

China will host several Arab leaders in Beijing this week with the Palestinian issue on the agenda, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

The visitors are to include Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, whose government has played a key role in the indirect truce talks between Israel and the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza.

Israel’s Abraham Accords allies the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will also be in China, the former represented by UAE President and ruler of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the latter by King Hamad.

Tunisian President Kais Saied will be present.

From Tuesday to Saturday, they will “pay state visits to China and attend the opening ceremony of the 10th Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement.

President Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote address on Thursday, according to Vice Foreign Minister Deng Li, who spoke at a press conference in Beijing.

Deng said that the forum will aim to deepen “consensus between China and Arab countries.” They will also “issue a common voice between China and Arab countries on the Palestinian issue.”

Beijing has become increasingly aligned with the Palestinians in recent years. In January, a U.S. State Department official warned that China is increasingly promoting antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories in the wake of Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in Israel.

Delivering a keynote address to the American Bar Association in January, Aaron Keyak, deputy special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, said China is trying to undermine the United States by claiming that Jews control the country.

“I have particular concern that since [the] Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, there’s been an increase in the People’s Republic of China’s state media and online discourse of antisemitic tropes that Jews control the United States through deep U.S.-Israel ties, as well as control over banks, the media and that they have influence over government leaders,” he said.

Keyak cited the example of an October 2023 program on “uncovering the Israel elements of U.S. elections in history,” during which the Chinese national broadcaster alleged that “Jews who represent 3% of the U.S. population control 70% of its wealth.”

“Conjecture that Jews control the U.S. government and U.S. wealth is an antisemitic falsehood intended to degrade trust in the United States, our democratic institutions, and ultimately, democracy around the globe,” he added.

Since Oct. 7, U.S. lawmakers have expressed concern that Chinese-owned media outlets and social media platforms, including TikTok, have promoted anti-Israel and even pro-Hamas propaganda.

The Chinese government has been deeply critical of Israel throughout the current war against Hamas, has not condemned the Oct. 7 massacre and has accused Israel of “collective punishment” of the Palestinians. 

“It’s high time to implement the two-state solution with concrete steps, including a full membership for Palestine in the U.N.,” wrote Zhang Jun, China’s ambassador to the United Nations, on Jan. 21.

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