Palestinian aspirations to achieve economic recovery and trade through cooperation agreements with China
arabic.news.cn (GMT +08:00) 2011-03-02 09:28:54
Palestinian Authority looks forward to bring about the revitalization of economic and trade cooperation through agreements signed with China in various fields and aid to the Palestinian people through free grants.
China has signed on Tuesday (March 1) conventions in-kind financial assistance to promote trade cooperation with Palestine during the visit of the Minister of Commerce Chen Deming to the West Bank.
Palestinian officials expressed their aspirations to achieve the revitalization of the economy arising from the conventions through the support and the various trade with China and work on future development to include various economic fields.
Chen announced to provide financial assistance in kind worth 5,5 million dollars to Palestine in the agreement signed with Secretary General of the Palestinian Presidency Tayeb Abdel Rahim, the presence of President Mahmoud Abbas.
Chen met with Abbas in addition to his visit, which lasted several hours, Palestinian Economy Minister Hassan Abu Lebda and SEO in the Palestinian Authority.
And the price of Abbas during his meeting with Chen substantial support provided by China for the Palestinian people and leadership, blaming Minister Chen greetings to President Hu Jintao and appreciation for his support for the Palestinian cause.
Abbas praised the relations “historic and distinguished” between Palestinian leaders and the Chinese, the two friendly peoples, pointing out that China has been and continues to stand by the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
And Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, told news agency (Xinhua), at a depth of Sino-Palestinian relations, praising the positions of Beijing and its political and financial support for the Palestinian cause.
As the price of Abu Rdainah, in particular, China’s position on the draft resolution, the Palestinian Arab who gave two weeks ago to the UN Security Council to condemn Israeli settlement construction and the demand to stop.
The speaker, for Palestinian aspirations for China’s support for the orientation of the Palestinian establishment of a Palestinian state and ending the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 to the Palestinian territories as soon as possible.
And agreed with Chinese Commerce Minister and Minister of the Palestinian economy, Hassan Abu Lebda to enhance the flow of trade between China and the Palestinian Authority.
Chen told reporters after meeting with Abu Lebda in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank, he had discussed with Palestinian Minister ways to encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in the Palestinian territories, and promotion of Chinese aid and training the human to the Palestinian Authority.
Chen expressed the hope in the Palestinian Authority was able to export their products abroad without any obstacles or difficulties, regional or international.
For his part, “said Abu Lebda, that the meeting discussed many issues to strengthen the bilateral relations between Palestine and China and an agreement to increase trade flow between the two sides.
He said Abu Lebda, he signed with Chen several economic agreements to facilitate the export of Palestinian products to China, and the mutual recognition between the two sides in the specifications and standards to facilitate the exchange of import and export of products between them. The Abu Lebda, that during the meeting also signed more than a bilateral agreement protocol for various issues relating to economic and trade exchange.
And the holding of Chen and Abu Lebda a lengthy meeting with the participation of businessmen from both sides and representatives from the public and private sectors, in order to inform the Chinese side on the investment environment in Palestine, and economic conditions of the Palestinian people, and also known as the Chinese experience in all fields, especially economy and trade.
. In exclusive statements to the news agency ((Xinhua)) Description of the Abu Lebda visiting Chinese Minister of Commerce as historic, pointing out that during the meeting agreed to strengthen bilateral relations and the prosperity of trade relations and economic ties.
The Abu Lebda, it would have on agreements signed with China to increase the prospects for Chinese investment in the Palestinian territories, and promote bilateral trade between the two countries which would contribute to reducing the deficit in the Palestinian economy.
He stated that the agreements with China will contribute to the provision of funding for training and rehabilitation Coward of the Palestinian Authority and provide them with some supplies and equipment.
The Abu Lebda, the ambition of the Palestinian economic commission set up Chinese joint Palestinian to discuss prospects for investment and trade, and enable the Palestinian economy to benefit from Chinese economic experience.
It was on the sidelines of Chen’s visit to focus on the mutual recognition of standards and measurements between the Palestinian and the Chinese economy will contribute to the export of Palestinian products to the Chinese market.
Known as the Palestinian economy and the concentration of imports and exports to and from Israel, which seeks to Palestinian officials during the development of Chinese markets.
In the view of economist and former Palestinian Minister of Planning Samir Abdullah, that the strengthening of Palestinian trade with China would open the doors wide to open Chinese markets to Palestinian products.
Abdullah stressed in an interview with news agency (Xinhua), on the Palestinian economy is affected significantly the Chinese economy, although trade is still mostly in one direction given the large amount of Chinese imports to the Palestinian markets.
He expressed the aspiration of the Palestinian economy and Palestinian private sector, to attract Chinese investments especially in the area of technology transfer to the Palestinian economy, as well as enhance the support of China, especially in the field of construction.
Abdullah expressed the view that China can do a massive investment in the Palestinian territories, especially in the areas of energy, construction, and in conjunction with the plans of the Palestinian Authority in building the institutions of the state. ا. Also of the view that China could benefit from near the site of Palestine from the European markets, especially the Gaza Strip, which is the window of freedom for the marketing of Chinese products and the introduction of modern technology to the European markets, including the mutual benefit of the Palestinian economy as well as Chinese.
Obama says Palestine must be based in 1967 borders – Sacramento News
The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, 05. 19, 2011 - 9:54 am
Under the auspices of the President: Palestine and China sign agreement to provide assistance to 55 million
Published Tuesday, 03/01/2011 (Last Updated) 01/03/2011 19:36 pm
Ramallah – Ma’an – The State of Palestine and the People’s Republic of China Tuesday afternoon, under the auspices of President Mahmoud Abbas, the Convention on assistance in kind by the Chinese government to the State of Palestine $ 5.5 million.
The agreement was signed by the State of Palestine Secretary-General of the Presidency Tayeb Abdel Rahim, and by the State of China and the Chinese Minister of Commerce Deming.
Abu Lebda: Palestine’s accession to the WTO is an urgent need to create a readiness for statehood
samanews 05/10/2011 – 21:22 Date
Ramallah \ Sama \ The Minister of National Economy Hassan Abu Lebda, said Tuesday that Palestine’s accession to the World Trade Organization is a national, and maturity comes in the path of integration of Palestine into the global economy, and a pressing need to create a readiness required for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
This came during the first meeting of the national team’s, are preparing for the accession of Palestine to the World Trade Organization, which included representatives of a number of relevant ministries and institutions, the private sector, within the framework of the preparations led by the Ministry of National Economy to join the World Trade Organization.
The Minister stressed the importance of the formation of the national team in charge of the decision of the Council of Ministers, being a reference in file Palestine’s accession to the WTO, and responsible moral, administrative and legislative to play Palestine in the creation of technical readiness and legislative to join the organization, while stressing the need for full commitment and full by team members to all meetings and resolutions.
He pointed to the importance of this project, through the support of the program to improve the investment environment in Palestine, and funded by the U.S. side, as well as European support for this project.
The meeting, held at the Ministry functions of the national team, as well as an initial presentation of the preparations under way to join the World Trade Organization, by the Director of Information Center at the Ministry of National Economy Ramadan Bdhp, including the importance of Palestine’s accession to the WTO, of creating and improving the investment climate, Palestinian, The difference between full membership and the membership as an observer, as among all the efforts undertaken by the Ministry in the area to join up to this moment, in addition to the future the next steps in this regard.
The formation of the national team, the aim of developing strategies to create a business environment, stable, transparent, and to determine the required reforms in policies and legal structure and institutional, as well as to institutionalize the national dialogue on economic issues, to understand, evaluate and follow up the process of accession to the WTO, and its implications for national interests and the national economy, and aims composition of the team to strengthen the Palestinian negotiating position with the World Trade Organization, which is based on development priorities and needs of the Palestinian trade with all partners, and management of the national plan to fit with the multilateral trading system according to the national interest.
And will emerge from the formation of this team, drawing economic policies compatible with WTO rules, taking into consideration the national interest, which would entail the commitment of team members in all meetings and activities of the team, especially training them, and the exchange of information available to the institution with the members of the group, which will enable national decisions for this team, in addition to abide by the decisions the team and schedules.
As a complement to the efforts of the Ministry of National Economy on the accession of Palestine, and the ministry will hold a series of seminars and activities, confident of the importance of the framework provided by the World Trade Organization, and conventions under the flag of the Organization in improving the conditions of trade and economic growth.
After the conclusion of the first meeting of the national team, headed by Abu Lebda, the first meeting of the Group’s technical preparations for the accession of Palestine to the World Trade Organization, the meeting addressed the tasks of the technical team problem, the aim of providing technical support to decision-makers in terms of accession to the WTO, and the associated economic policies , and the development of e-Palestinian negotiations to join the World Trade Organization, both as an observer or as a full member, which forces the team members adhere to all group meetings and activities, especially training sessions, including, in addition to briefing the parent organization noted, all activities of the team and its content, to build institutional memory about arrangements for accession to the WTO and policies.
It is worth mentioning that the Palestinian National Authority in 2009 made a request for Palestine’s accession to the WTO as an observer, as Palestine has reviewed their request and resubmit it in 2010.
Palestine after WTO Membership
Published July 12th, 2000 – 05:00 GMT
The Camp David summit will yield progress toward forming a new economic reality with the Palestinian Authority, according to The Jerusalem Post.
The Israeli daily said that a free-trade area (FTA) is the likely settlement due the Palestinian’s desire for greater economic freedom and Israel’s willingness to comply.
“We want to determine our own economic policy,” Saad Khatib, director of the Israel desk at the PA’s Ministry of Economy and Trade, told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday. “We want to become a member of the WTO [World Trade Organization], to open our markets and make them attractive.”
The Geneva-based WTO governs the rules of trade between its 137 member nations. The organization handles trade disputes, provides a forum for negotiations, and monitors national trade policies. The rigorous application process includes a commitment to grant special trading rights to other WTO countries and a description of the candidate’s trade and economic policies. The PA is currently working closely with the International Monetary Fund to develop a medium-term economic policy framework, said the report.
Israeli Finance Ministry Director-General Avi Ben-Bassat, before leaving to join the negotiations on Monday, echoed the well-documented position that Israel will comply with the Palestinians request for more economic liberties, said the paper.
According to the daily, an FTA would be a departure from the current norms, which are based on the 1994 Protocol on Economic Relations (commonly known as the Paris Protocol), which was attached as an appendix to the Interim Agreement. The result was a customs envelope – a limited form of a customs union. The Paris Protocol also created a free-trade area between Israel and the Palestinian autonomous areas. However, unlike a customs union, which specifies a common tariff toward all non-member countries, the Paris Protocol allows the PA to determine its own tariffs for certain goods originating from designated countries.
The Palestinian protest against the current system stems from the dominant role that Israel plays in the PA’s trade policies. Under the current arrangements, the Palestinians inherit all economic ties that Israel has with other countries. At a recent conference for the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI), Gabi Bar, deputy director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, noted that the Palestinians inherited free-trade arrangements with the US and Europe.
“The PA now has an economic agreement with some of the largest blocks in the world,” he said. “If you look at the neighboring Arab countries, none of them have it.”
The arrangement, however, prohibits ties with countries that have no formal economic relations with Israel. “We want to have free trade with Arab areas that do not have economic ties with Israel, like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait,” Khatib said.
The PA has also voiced a strong opposition to the policies of the Israel Standards Institute, said the paper, adding that the PA has complained that the institute, which may approve or reject the import of goods based on safety or health regulations, acts to limit the products available to Palestinians.
As for what to expect from the Camp David talks, Gershon Baskin of IPCRI, was quoted as saying “they’ll come to a general agreement, probably an FTA, and an agreement on the flow of labor into Israel and on the number of customs stations.”
But he noted that an economic framework will not be finalized until after a political agreement is reached.
Khatib concurred. “Any economic agreement,” he said, “needs to be between the State of Israel and the state of Palestine. Until we have this established, it is futile to discuss economic relations.” – Albawaba.com
…The Palestinian Authority is not a member of the WTO, but obtained observer status at the Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December 2005. The Palestinian Authority requested in 2009 to become a permanent observer in the governing bodies of the WTO,,
Union opens up its market to Palestinian exports
Brussels, 13 April 2011
United States Government Formally Agrees to Support Observership of Palestine at WTO Aug 6, 2010 edipusaid
The United States Government officially informed the Palestinian Minster of National Economy and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the decision to support the Palestinian bid for observership in the WTO on August 2. This decision was a result of a long process of consultations between the Palestinian National Authority and the United States Government, including several telephone conferences with the United States Trade Representative (USTR), a visit by USTR officials to Ramallah for two intensive days of discussions on the 22nd and 23rd of February, meetings between the U.S. and Palestinian Missions in Geneva, and follow-ups with the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem.
The declaration comes at a time when intensive work has been done on the legal and regulatory structure of doing business in the Palestinian Territories, along with the implementation of the two-year plan of the Palestinian Authority for “Ending the Occupation and Preparing for Statehood”. The US decision was based on the perceived importance of WTO observership to the Palestinian Authority in its preparations for statehood. It will help with the transition from a trade regime under occupation to a regime in compliance with international standards and trade regulation embodied by the WTO agreements.
The USAID/EDIP project was instrumental in this achievement, by assisting the Trade Policy advisor embedded within the Ministry of National Economy as a policy advisor to the Minister, and as the technical team leader within the PA in the discussions with USTR and the USG. WTO observership can potentially be a pivotal input into the PA reform process in the formulation of trade and economic policy, which would use WTO standards and regulations as benchmarks for trade policy and the trade regime. Palestinian participation in the WTO’s General Council and subsidiary bodies will familiarize Palestinian officials with the inner workings of the WTO. They can both learn from the experiences of members and parties in the accession process as well as benefit from technical assistance provided by the WTO secretariat.
China’s Palestine Policy
Publication: China Brief Volume: 9 Issue: 5March 4, 2009 04:37 PM Age: 2 yrs Category: China Brief, Foreign Policy, China and the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Home Page
By: Chris Zambelis
The geopolitics of China’s rise and its implications for the Arab world and wider Middle East is a topic for serious debate. Currently, China’s Middle East strategy revolves around shoring up its energy security and tapping consumer markets and investment opportunities for Chinese businesses. Given China’s status as the world’s fastest growing energy consumer and third-largest net importer of oil coupled with the global financial crisis, energy and commercial concerns will continue to dominate China’s interaction with the Middle East in the foreseeable future . Yet as China’s economic clout grows, Beijing is also keen on leveraging its economic power to enhance its diplomatic influence on the international stage. To bolster its great-power aspirations and its position in the Middle East—a region where it played a peripheral role throughout the Cold War—Beijing’s diplomacy is forging closer relations with key players in the region and, in doing so, is challenging the status quo.
China’s efforts to engage the region in recent years have been welcomed with open arms on both the state and popular levels. Regional governments, for instance, look to China as a potential check on what they see as unrestrained American dominance in the region, a feeling shared by many staunch U.S. allies (China Brief, October 24, 2008; China Brief, May 24, 2006). Furthermore, public sentiment in the region tends to be harshly critical of many aspects of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. China’s growing inroads into the Middle East, therefore, are also viewed in a positive light, as many Arabs and Muslims see China as a brotherly state (China Brief, May 18, 2007). Geopolitical considerations and cultural affinities, however, are not sufficient to explain the emerging China factor in Middle Eastern affairs. China’s successful engagement strategy also derives from the general lack of enmity between China and Arab countries on key global issues and its effective use of soft power in its dealings with Arab partners (China Brief, May 18, 2007).
China’s historic role in supporting Third World revolutionary movements and anti-colonial struggles in the Middle East and Africa, to include its advocacy on behalf of the Palestinians during the Cold War until the present, has also led many in the region to see China as a potential partner that can help further the Palestinian national cause . It was not until 1992 that China and Israel established formal diplomatic ties, ties that have since flourished despite Beijing’s previous characterization of Israel as an imperial aggressor acting at the behest of the United States . Nevertheless, widespread popular opposition to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East coupled with feelings of nostalgia for a return of the revolutionary China of old, Arab and Muslim proponents of a greater role for China in Middle East politics see China’s rise as a positive trend, especially as it relates to the question of Palestine .
Chinese diplomacy in the Middle East is often imbued with a discourse that emphasizes themes of mutual respect and “South-South” cooperation and unity. As a developing country that has charted its own path toward progress and modernization and a country that is free of the colonial taint of competing powers in the region, China is quick to point out that it remains committed to championing the causes of the developing world, to include the struggle for Palestinian self-determination (China Brief, May 18, 2007). Chinese leaders, for instance, conduct official diplomatic visits to the “State of Palestine” as opposed to the “Palestinian Territories” or the “West Bank/Gaza,” labels typically used by the United States and other countries in official venues. China’s reference to “Palestine” is a symbolic but nevertheless important distinction; China’s reference to “Palestine” acknowledges Palestinian national identity and, by extension, the territorial claims of the Palestinians (Xinhua News Agency, January 10).
While always taking into account the significance of public diplomacy and perceptions, Chinese leaders treat bilateral exchanges with their Palestinian counterparts as major diplomatic events on par with other high-level state-to-state visits. In November 2008, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas exchanged warm congratulations to mark the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the formal establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Palestinians. Hu mentioned that “China has always been a staunch supporter of the rightful cause of the Palestinians and the Mideast peace process;” Abbas reciprocated by thanking China for “being a supporter of the rightful cause of the Palestinians” (Xinhua News Agency, November 20, 2008). In a further attempt to showcase its image as an advocate for the Palestinian cause and its willingness to engage with Palestinians on its own terms, Beijing ignored U.S. and Israeli opposition and welcomed Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas representative who served as Palestinian foreign minister, during the June 2006 China-Arab Cooperation Forum in Beijing (Xinhua News Agency, May 18, 2006). The United States and Israel consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization. In contrast, China acknowledged the legitimacy of Hamas’ role as a legitimate representative of the Palestinian people following the group’s victory in the January 2006 parliamentary elections. A statement by Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao clarified Beijing’s position regarding Hamas in light of U.S. and Israeli opposition to China’s dealings with the organization: “We believe that the Palestinian government is legally elected by the people there and it should be respected” (China Daily, June 2, 2006).
China on the Gaza Crisis
China’s reaction to Israel’s December 2008 invasion of Gaza and the resulting humanitarian crisis provides insight into some of the reasons underlying China’s popularity in the Middle East when it comes to the question of Palestine. In a January 16 speech during an emergency meeting of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN Liu Zhenmin stated:
“China is seriously concerned over the escalation of Israel-Palestine conflicts and is deeply worried about the worsening humanitarian situation” and that “China condemns any violence against civilians and is shocked and indignant at Israel’s attacks on UN schools, rescue vehicles, and a UN compound. China demands that Israel ensure the safety of UN personnel and other rescue personnel, urges Israel to immediately stop its military operations and withdraw its troops, open all cross-border checkpoints into Gaza, and guarantee uninterrupted delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza; Palestinian armed factions must immediately stop launching rockets” (Xinhua News Agency, January 16).
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China’s harsh criticism of Israel’s actions in Gaza, which occurred amid staunch American support for Israel’s actions, is another example of why many Arabs and Muslims are optimistic about China’s potential to challenge the United States, Israel’s main benefactor, and stand by the Palestinians. In this regard, Arab and Muslim proponents of a greater role for China in the Middle East hope that China may one day use its influence at the UN and other international bodies to offset American and, by extension, Israeli influence in the region.
China on Israel’s Occupation and Settlement Policies
China has been a harsh critic of Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian land, including Israel’s policy of constructing settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, essentially the land Palestinians and the international community envisage (along with Gaza) to serve as an independent homeland. China has also been a harsh critic of Israel’s economic blockade of Gaza and the ensuing humanitarian costs since Hamas took control of the territory in 2007. While calling on both Israelis and Palestinians to focus their efforts on forging a lasting peace through diplomacy and compromise, China’s Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Yesui stated, “China is deeply concerned at the grave security and humanitarian situation in Palestine and worried about the recent renewed eruption of violent conflicts in the Gaza Strip and the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation” (Xinhua News Agency, November 25, 2008). Ambassador Yesui also stated that the “continued construction of settlements by Israel on the West Bank is not only in violation of Israel’s obligations under international law, but is also detrimental to guaranteeing Israel’s own security” (Xinhua News Agency, November 25, 2008).
China on “The Wall”
China regularly chastises Israel for its controversial construction of what Israel refers to as a “separation wall” or “security fence” and Palestinians brand as a “segregation wall” that traverses large swaths of the West Bank. Palestinians and international opponents of Israel’s actions label the construction of the so-called “separation wall” as a ploy aimed at annexing more Palestinian territory prior to a final peace settlement under the guise of securing Israeli territory from attack (Xinhua News Agency, February 24, 2004). In a September 2006 statement during a UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East, China’s foreign minister Li Zhaoxing called on Israel to “dismantle the separation wall,” which China views as an obstacle to peace and stability (PRC Mission to the UN Statement, September 21, 2006). China’s position on Israel’s construction of its “separation wall” reflects the 2004 advisory opinion by the International Criminal Court of Justice (ICJ) that declared the wall to be illegal .
A Balancing Act
On the surface, Beijing’s rhetoric concerning the most critical issues affecting the Palestinians suggests that it is positioning itself as a check on Israeli and, by extension, a check on American power in the Middle East. In reality, an assessment of Chinese behavior suggests that its Palestine policy is driven by pragmatic concerns that are very much in line with the international consensus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict led by the United States. For instance, China supports the principles outlined in the various peace initiatives that have governed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process over the years, such as the 1991 Madrid Conference, 1993 Oslo Accords, 2002 “Road Map,” 2007 Annapolis Conference, among others. China’s vocal support for the Palestinian cause is also tempered with calls for Palestinian militants to renounce all forms of violence and terrorism, a far cry from the rhetoric and behavior reminiscent of China’s revolutionary days (China Daily, May 31, 2006). In this regard, China’s approach to the question of Palestine is more complex and nuanced than its rhetoric would indicate.
China today places a high-premium on its relationship with Israel, a marked shift from the periods of hostility and suspicion that characterized Sino-Israeli ties during the Cold War. Israel also sees China as an important partner, especially in the economic arena: China is Israel’s largest trading partner in Asia and the volume of trade between China and Israel represents the sixth largest in the world (Xinhua News Agency, November 8, 2006). China’s vocal criticism of Israel with respect to the question of Palestine, the most recent criticism occurring during the latest conflict in Gaza, appears to have done little to scuttle one of the world’s most robust trading relationships, and there are no indications that China (or Israel) is interested in seeing this dynamic change. Moreover, China’s close relations with Iran, Syria, and other Israeli rivals in the region also seem to have had a negligible impact on the development of Sino-Israeli ties, especially in the economic realm (China Brief, October 24, 2008). During a September 2007 reception marking the 58th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) at the Chinese Embassy in Israel, Chinese Ambassador to Israel Zhao Jun underlined the central role of trade in cementing Sino-Israeli relations: “As has been shown, China’s sound and steady economic growth has not only benefited its 1.3 billion people, bus also offered enormous business opportunities to other countries, including and particularly Israel, whose economic structure complement that of China” (Xinhua News Agency, September 24, 2007).
China’s quest for advanced technology, especially defense-related technology and weapons systems, and Israel’s aggressive export efforts in these sectors, underlie Sino-Israeli economic relations. China has found a willing partner in Israel to help further its ambitious efforts to modernize its military and bolster its technological prowess. At the same time, the Sino-Israeli trade in advanced military-related technology and weapons systems has been fraught with controversy, contributing to severe strains in U.S.-Israel relations (China Brief, January 24, 2007) . The United States worries that advanced defense technologies supplied by Israel to China may someday provide China with an advantage against its rivals in Asia, including U.S. allies such as Taiwan, thus further tipping the balance of power in Asia. Advanced technologies and weapons systems supplied by Israel to China also have the potential to be used by China against the United States in a future confrontation between Chinese and American forces. China’s record of proliferating arms and weapons systems also worries U.S. planners, since China may repackage advanced Israeli defense technologies for resale to America’s rivals across the globe. Israel is reported to be China’s second-largest arms supplier (with Russia being the first source). The controversy over Sino-Israeli defense ties is exacerbated considering that the United States remains Israel’s largest supplier of arms (Taipei Times, December 30, 2008).
As China continues to spread its influence across the Middle East, there will be increasing calls among Arabs and Muslims for China to adopt a more assertive posture in its advocacy on behalf of the Palestinian national cause. Despite its revolutionary history and rhetoric, however, China’s soft-power diplomacy and growing economic inroads into the Middle East suggest that it is likely to continue to maintain a balancing act when it comes to the question of Palestine, at least in the foreseeable future. China’s approach in its relationship with Israel also suggests that the further development of Sino-Israeli ties remains a top priority in Beijing, a factor that will profoundly impact Chinese foreign policy in the region. At the same time, as a rising power on the international stage, a major shift in regional (or global) dynamics down the line may prompt China to change course with respect to the Palestine question and its overall approach to the Middle East.
[The opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the position of Helios Global, Inc.]
1. Xin Ma, “China’s Energy Strategy in the Middle East,” Middle East Economic Survey, Vol. LI, No. 23, June 9, 2008.
2. For a discussion of China’s anti-imperialist revolutionary credentials with the respect to the Palestinian question, Arab nationalism, and Israel more generally, see John K. Cooley, “China and the Palestinians,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, (Winter 1972), pp. 19-34.
3. For a discussion on the evolution of Israel-China relations, see E. Zev Sufott, “The Crucial Year 1991,” in Jonathan Goldstein, China and Israel, 1948-1998: A Fifty Year Retrospective (Westport: Praeger, 1999), pp. 107-126.
4. Popular opposition to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is also apparent among Muslims outside of the Middle East. See WorldPublicOpinion.org, “Public Opinion in the Islamic World on Terrorism, al Qaeda, and US Policies,” The Program on International Policy Attitudes, University of Maryland, February 25, 2009, http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/feb09/STARTII_Feb09_rpt.pdf. For more recent polling data indicating favorable Arab perceptions of China versus unfavorable opinions of the United States, see “2008 Annual Arab Public Opinion Poll,” Survey of the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland (with Zogby International), March 2008, sadat.umd.edu/surveys/2008%20Arab%20Public%20Opinion%20Survey.ppt.
5. International Court of Justice, “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” Press Release, 2004/28, July 9, 2004, http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php.
6. Also see P.R. Kumaraswamy, “Israel-China Relations and the Phalcon Controversy,” Middle East Policy, Vol. 12, Iss. 2, (Summer 2005), pp. 93-103; Nuclear Threat Initiative, “China’s Missile Imports and Assistance from Israel,” March 28, 2003, http://www.nti.org/db/china/imisr.htm