The Chinese regime urged the Israeli government to stop its military actions in Gaza, saying Israel has “gone beyond self-defense” in response to the surprise attack by the Hamas terrorist group last week.
China’s foreign minister Wang Yi delivered the message during a Saturday phone call with his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
“Israel’s actions have gone beyond self-defense,” Mr. Wang claimed, urging the Israeli government to stop what he called “collective punishment of civilians in Gaza,” according to the readout from China’s foreign ministry.
The conversation came after the Israeli foreign ministry sharply criticised Beijing’s lack of condemnation for Hamas’s unprecedented attack on southern Israel a week ago, killing over 1,000 civilians and capturing up to 150 more as hostages.
“There was no clear and unequivocal condemnation of the terrible massacre committed by the terrorist organization Hamas against innocent civilians and the abduction of dozens of them to Gaza,” the Israeli foreign ministry said in a readout of a phone call between Israeli ambassador Rafi Harpaz and China’s special envoy to the Middle East, Zhai Jun.
Mr. Harpaz has expressed “Israel’s deep disappointment” to Mr. Zhai, the ministry said.
The Chinese regime has refrained from denouncing the Palestinian terror group. In the wake of the Oct. 7 strike by Hamas on Israel, the communist regime’s first response was to call on “relevant parties” to “stay calm” and “exercise restraint.” Without naming Hamas, the statement said Beijing was “deeply concerned” about the escalation of tensions and violence and made calls for a two-state resolution, drawing criticism from United States and Israeli officials who said it lacked sympathy for the Israeli victims.
“When people are being murdered and slaughtered in the streets, this is not the time to call for a two-state solution,” Yuval Waks, a senior official at the Israeli embassy in Beijing, said during a briefing on Oct. 8.
Facing pressure, China’s foreign ministry issued a new statement, saying that the regime condemned such acts against civilians. The updated statement, however, still avoids mentioning Hamas by name.
“China is a friend to both Israel and Palestine,” Mao Ning, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, told reporters at a regular briefing on Oct. 9.
While China sought to portray itself as neutral, outside observers say the communist regime has chosen to side with Palestine.
“We have to look at China’s relationship with Iran because Iran has often been a proxy for Beijing. And, of course, Hamas is a proxy of Iran. So really, what we’ve got here is China fueling these brutal attacks and this invasion of Israel,” said Gordan Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China” and “China Is Going to War.”
“I’m sure Chinese weapons [will] show up on the battlefield. And, of course, it’s Chinese money that has permitted this,” he said.
Separately, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also spoke with Mr. Wang on Saturday.
Mr. Blinken “reiterated U.S. support for Israel’s right to defend itself and called for an immediate cessation of Hamas’ attacks and the release of all hostages,” the State Department said in a statement. Mr. Blinken “discussed the importance of maintaining stability in the region and discouraging other parties from entering the conflict,” according to the statement.
For his part, Mr. Wang reiterated the regime’s stance that it “opposed all actions that harm civilians and condemned practises that violate international law.”
The Chinese Communist Party’s top diplomat said the United States should “play a constructive and responsible role,” pushing the conflict “back on track for a political settlement as soon as possible,” according to Beijing’s statement.
Their conversation also touched on U.S.-China ties, the ministry said, which Mr. Wang said have shown signs of stabilising.
As part of the efforts to reopen communication lines, President Joe Biden hopes to meet Chinese President Xi on the sidelines of next month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in San Francisco. But such a meeting hasn’t been confirmed by Beijing.
Mr. Xi will sit down with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week. Moscow has confirmed that Mr. Putin will visit Beijing from Oct. 17 to Oct. 18.