Palestinian, Israeli delegates meet in Beijing for peace solution

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/21 23:33:40

Limited space for China to make breakthrough

The symposium of Israeli and Palestinian peace advocates held in Beijing shows China's will to promote peaceful solutions to Palestine-Israel issues, but experts say the complexity of Middle East politics leaves limited space for China.

The symposium, the third such event since 2006, is being held on Thursday and Friday in Beijing, and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi is set to meet with the Palestinian and Israeli attendees, according to the ministry.

Ahmed Majdalani, Member of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and Yehiel Bar, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and head of the lobby for the two-state solution, are said to head the delegations attending the symposium.

China has attached great importance to the symposium, which shows that it is willing to contribute to a peaceful solution for the Palestine-Israel issue, even though the most practical and widely acknowledged two-state solution has been undermined by the US, Hua Liming, a Middle East studies expert and a former Chinese Ambassador to Iran, told the Global Times.

After US President Donald Trump's announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital in early December sparked outrage from the Arab world and concern from international society, Trump threatened Wednesday to cut off financial aid to countries favoring a UN draft resolution calling for the decision to be withdrawn.

"Following the irresponsible moves from the US, Arab countries are expecting China to play a more active role in the Middle East," Liu Zhongmin, a professor at the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times.

"China is willing to play a constructive role in the Middle East and is doing what it can to help with the peace process, such as hosting such symposiums. However, the complexity of the Palestine-Israel issue and the current challenges facing global governance since Trump's inauguration has left limited space for China to make groundbreaking moves," said Liu.

UN vote

A vote is expected on the draft resolution at a rare emergency session on Thursday in the UN General Assembly, after the US vetoed the resolution on Monday which was supported by the other 14 members of the UN Security Council, Reuters reported.

This is the 10th such emergency special session of the UN General Assembly since 1956. The last session was held in 1982 and it too concerned the Middle East.

"The US is destroying its own image with these threat, which have also put its credibility in jeopardy," Li Haidong, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University's Institute of International Relations, told the Global Times, adding that the international community will no longer trust the US to be fair and impartial on significant issues.

The US has conflicts with other countries, including its allies, and is no longer able to coerce other countries to tow the line, said Li. "US' power, international influence and capability to manage global issues have dwindled," He added.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Trump's move means the US can no longer be a mediator in Middle East, effectively ending expectations the US still had an important role to play.

Meanwhile, Abbas has sent delegations to China and Russia, and was expected to ask the two countries to take a greater role in the peace process with Israel, AFP reported Wednesday.

Both Israelis and Palestinians see Jerusalem as their capital. So far, the international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the entire city, believing its status should be resolved through negotiations.

Newspaper headline: Palestinian, Israeli delegates meet in Beijing for solution

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