China, France applauded for Gaza stance

2024-05-14 09:37:07China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China and France have assumed their responsibility as major countries and United Nations Security Council members by reiterating their commitment to a lasting two-state solution to the Middle East crisis instead of fueling its escalation, according to analysts.

They say Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron displayed "moral clarity" on the Gaza conflict during their recent meeting.

Both leaders called for an irreversible relaunch of a political process to implement a two-state solution and sustainable delivery of humanitarian aid.

In a joint statement made during the Chinese president's state visit to France, Xi and Macron reiterated their call for Israel and Palestine "to live side by side in peace and security".

The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the two-state solution, which "is the only way to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Israeli and Palestinian people for lasting peace and security".

"President Xi Jinping's meeting with the French leader last week signaled alignment as both nations sought a cessation of hostilities," Belal Alakhras, a political analyst and Palestinian researcher at the University of Malaya in Malaysia, told China Daily.

"External crises have often been exploited to drive rifts but the moral clarity of the situation in Gaza prompted unity in demanding an end to the bloodshed," Alakhras said.

"This approach highlights a stark contrast to the US, which enabled the genocide in Gaza by providing billions in military aid (to Israel), intelligence support, vetoing cease-fire resolutions, and even suppressing student activists protesting these atrocities on American campuses," he added.

He said China's active diplomacy indicated a more principled foreign policy, rather than "perpetuating unilateral agendas to assert spheres of influence at all costs, like some traditional powers".

The Gaza conflict, he added, provided an opportunity for China to find common ground with other countries appalled by the escalating atrocities.

Long before tensions escalated in the region on Oct 7, China had called for lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Most notably, it announced a plan to invite Israelis and Palestinians for talks in Beijing in 2021. China has also provided humanitarian assistance to help ease the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Last month, China invited representatives of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah) and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) to Beijing for in-depth and candid talks on promoting intra-Palestinian reconciliation.

On Friday, China expressed support for the UNSC to reconsider Palestine's application to join the world body. A resolution calling for the reevaluation of Palestine's UN membership bid and upgrading its rights passed with overwhelming support, with 143 member states — including China and France — voting in favor, nine against, including the US, and 25 abstentions.

"China always stands, stood, is still standing, and will stand with Palestine in the United Nations," said Ayman Talal Yousef, a professor of international relations at the Arab American University in Jenin.

Yousef noted that historically, culturally, and politically, China has had "very good relations" with all Arab countries, particularly Egypt and Algeria. Now there are "growing economic relations with Gulf countries", he told China Daily.

At the same time, China has had smooth relations with Israel since both countries established diplomatic ties in 1992, Yousef added.

These unprecedented times call for unprecedented change, according to Alakhras, as the world has witnessed how the self-serving interests of an unchecked superpower can jeopardize global security.

"China's resolute stance in defusing this conflict has elevated its stature but it may need to capitalize on this momentum. Further investing in principled multilateralism will continue garnering goodwill and buttressing China's role as a stabilizing force for the collective good," he said.

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