Coming off its success in getting archrivals Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties, China is now trying its hand at Israel-Palestine peace, after weeks of sporadic clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police in the West Bank and Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.
China’s foreign minister Qin Gang on Monday said Beijing is ready and willing to “play a constructive role” in promoting peace in the region. He also said he is “very concerned” over ratcheting tensions and violence, also after recent brief flare-ups of rocket fire from Gaza and Israeli return airstrikes.
During prior clashes at Al-Aqsa Mosque this month, the Chinese foreign ministry issued a statement saying, “We call on all parties, Israel in particular, to show calm and restraint and immediately stop all words and deeds that might heighten tensions.” This was followed by a viral video showing police beating Muslim worshipers inside the mosque for defying a strict curfew at the Temple Mount.
The Israelis have been chiefly concerned that the pressure and spotlight will be taken off of Iranian malfeasance in the region, which could in turn be a threat to Israel’s security. Some have seen China’s recent efforts at stronger diplomacy in the Middle East as a sign of waning US influence; however, the Biden administration has said it welcomes opportunities to forge greater peace and stability.