Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and other Arab states are increasingly critical of Israel as it conducts a war against Hamas in Gaza. The militant group attacked Israel on Oct. 7 from Gaza, killing 1,200 people. Israel’s since bombarded the Palestinian territory and launched a ground offensive, which the Hamas-run health ministry says has killed more than 13,000 people.
Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union.
China has been trying to portray itself as a force for peace in the Middle East since March, when it helped broker a detente between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Beijing also hosted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in June, some four months before Hamas attacked Israel.
During that visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed an international peace conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. China has in recent weeks reiterated its desire for an independent Palestinian state and called for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Nicholas Burns, the U.S.’s top diplomat in China, last month urged Beijing to denounce terrorism by Hamas, and cited its stance toward the group as yet another challenge in ties between the world’s biggest economies.
Last month, a U.S. delegation to Beijing led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer asked China to use its links with Iran to try to keep the fighting in Gaza from spreading.
(With assistance from Tarek El-Tablawy.)
©2023 Bloomberg L.P. Visit bloomberg.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.