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China’s Calculated Role in the Israel-Hamas Conflict

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As the conflict between Israel and Hamas intensifies, an unexpected mediator has stepped onto the global stage – China. China’s involvement in this complex and long-standing conflict may seem puzzling at first, but it becomes clearer when we examine the self-serving reasons behind its support for Hamas and reluctance to align with U.S. goals. In this article, we will delve into China’s motivations and its role in the Israel-Hamas war.

China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, recently engaged in discussions with officials in Washington amidst concerns of a broader regional war. The U.S. has expressed its willingness to collaborate with China to find a resolution to the conflict. Wang Yi also held conversations with Israeli and Palestinian counterparts, following a visit by China’s Middle East special envoy, Zhai Jun, who met with Arab leaders. Moreover, China has been a vocal advocate for a ceasefire in UN meetings.

However, some observers argue that China remains a minor player in Middle East politics. Jonathan Fulton, a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council specializing in China’s relations with the Middle East, points out that China is not considered a significant actor in resolving this conflict by many in the region. However, if one were to examine the connections, it appears likely that Iran is backing Hamas and of course, China has a $400 billion commitment to back Iran in its oil ventures.

China’s involvement in the Israel-Hamas conflict can be attributed to its economic interests in the Middle East, particularly its dependence on oil imports from the Gulf region. Furthermore, the conflict provides an opportunity for China to enhance its global reputation. By standing up for the Palestinians, China appeals to Arab and Muslim-majority nations, as well as the Global South, while positioning itself as an alternative global leader to the United States.

While China officially refrains from attacking the U.S. for its support of Israel, state media is stoking nationalist sentiments and linking events in the Middle East to U.S. policies. This strategy aims to diminish the U.S.’s global standing while avoiding direct confrontation. One can only imagine the behind that scenes chatter in diplomatic circles intended to undermine the U.S.

China’s involvement in the Israel-Hamas conflict is motivated by a combination of economic interests, diplomatic strategy, and a desire to enhance its global reputation. While China may not appear to hold a central role in the resolution of this conflict, its “soft power” will continue to shape the Middle East. As China navigates these challenges, it must convince the world that its intentions in the region are genuinely geared toward achieving lasting peace – even if they are not.

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