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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

China disagrees with Arab world over Jerusalem?

From Victor Shikhman:
It went unnoticed by me, and apparently by much of the international English language media, that China, a traditionally loyal diplomatic backer and arms supplier of the Arab states and their terrorist proxies, is carving out an increasingly nuanced position on the Israeli-Arab conflict, one more balanced to the interest of the State of Israel and more likely to result in a just and lasting peace agreement. Here's the report, from May 14th, 2010, on Al Jazeera (Google Translation): 

A dispute on Jerusalem between the Chinese and the Arab delegation, attending the fourth session of the Ministerial Meeting of China-Arab Cooperation Forum in the port city of Tianjin. The dispute erupted after Chinese officials refused to sign a joint document with the delegation, which includes the Arab Foreign Ministers, East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. According to Al Jazeera's correspondent in China, Ezzat Shahrour that the Arab delegation was surprised at the last minute when Chinese officials refused to sign the document, despite all the efforts that have been made at the last minute in order to contain the situation.
The Al Jazeera article does seem to say that - the Chinese refused to sign a paper calling Jerusalem the capital of a Palestinian state.

The position is not quite as pro-Israel as Shikhamn thinks, though. I managed to dig up the Chinese-language communique from the conference, hosted on the Chinese embassy site in Syria, autotranslated:
China's emphasis on supporting the Arab countries under the relevant United Nations resolutions, "land for peace" principle, "the Arab Peace Initiative" and the Middle East peace "road map" peace and stability in the Middle East a strategic choice; call for early resumption of the line of peace talks. The two sides reached a consensus in the international community to support the "two-state solution" under the framework of relevant UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, based on the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian State; restore legitimate Arab rights, an end to Israel beyond 1967 (lines) including East Jerusalem, the [end of] occupation of Arab territories in the Middle East to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace; called on Israel to respond to the peaceful aspirations of the Arab countries, in the "Arab Peace Initiative" with the Arab countries on the basis of negotiations, the full implementation of Security Council resolution; called upon the international community to continue to provide political and economic support of Palestine, to improve the humanitarian situation in Palestine; to lift the Israeli blockade on Gaza, open ports, and promote reconstruction in Gaza; demand that Israel cease, including East Jerusalem, the occupied Arab territories, including settlement building point of such actions; under the relevant resolutions of the United Nations to resolve the Palestinian refugee problem; demanded that Israel cease all actions exacerbate tensions in order to maintain regional stability in the Middle East peace process forward and create favorable conditions.
So while it does indeed appear that China is not officially supportive of Jerusalem being the capital of a Palestinian Arab state, they still want Jerusalem to be divided.

It is an interesting piece of political intrigue, though.

(h/t Firouz)