by Lady Michelle Jennifer Santos
21 January 2016, CAIRO (TSR) – President Xi Jinping declared on Thursday that China supports the creation of an independent Palestinian state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital, based on the pre-1967 borders.
“China firmly supports the Middle East peace process and supports the establishment of a State of Palestine enjoying full sovereignty on the basis of the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. We understand the legitimate aspirations of Palestine to integrate into the international community as a state,” President Xi Jinping said.
The Chinese leader’s remark comes during a visit to Cairo while delivering a speech at the Arab League headquarters.
1967 was the year Israel illegally occupied and then annexed the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds during the Six-Day War in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.
“The Palestinian issue should not be marginalized, still less should it fall into oblivion,” he said.
In his speech, President Xi Jinping also urged the international community to bring an end to the conflict, and to uphold fairness and justice, not only promote the resumption of talks and implementation of peace agreements.
“One cannot do without the other. Without fairness and justice, peace accord can only bring about a cold peace. The international community should stick to the principle of fairness and justice, and address historical injustice as soon as possible”, he said.
“To improve the well-being of the Palestinians, Beijing will provide 50 million RMB (US $7.6 million) of grant to the Palestinian side and support the solar power station project in its territories”, he added.
“We are in favor of putting in place a new mechanism to promote peace as to the Middle East question, and support efforts made by the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation toward this end,” he said.
President Xi Jinping also said that China would provide $30 million in humanitarian aid to Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya and Yemen in 2016, as well as $300 million in aid to Arab countries for bolstering law enforcement and police training.
For decades, China did not try to stay out of the conflict according to an analysis by The Diplomat.
“Under Mao Zedong, China sided with Palestine. Former Chinese leaders such as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping had almost unconditional support for the revolutionary cause led by Yasser Arafat, who was called “an old friend of the Chinese people.” The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) obtained both funds and weapons from China”, the article said.
The Diplomat explains that since Palestine received widespread support from other Arab countries, China’s calculated stance helped it win influence in the third world. Due to political expediency, China was unwilling to accept positive overtures from Israel. Even though Israel was the first country in the Middle East to acknowledge the founding of PRC, the two countries would not establish official diplomatic relations until 1992.
During the 1980s, China began to abandon ideologically-driven diplomacy as part of its reform and opening process. China gradually began to draw closer to Israel because of one simple reason: Israel’s advanced technology and investments also were attractive China’s developmental needs which today have become two major pillars for their bilateral relations. At the same time, China’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has changed from unilateral condemnation of Israel to a neutral stance. Palestine was not happy, but had no choice but to accept the change.
Though China enjoys strong business connections with Israel, it has been vocally expressing its strong support for an independent Palestinian state.
In 2013, China called for a resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), explaining the need to settle “the Palestinian question.”
Also that year, Xi discussed with PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas a four-point proposal for peace talks with Israel.
The Chinese proposal focused on an independent Palestinian state, negotiations as the only way to peace, the principle of “land for peace”, and guarantees the international community should provide for the progress of the peace process.
The Israel-Palestinian peace process remains frozen and has been since 2014 because Israel claims Palestine has breached the conditions of talks.
The Palestine has been on “diplomatic offensive” against Israel, joining international organizations such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) and providing “evidence” of alleged Israeli war crimes against Palestinians with the intent of having the court prosecute Israel.
Palestine is now planning another move to increase pressure, and is promoting a UN resolution that would condemn Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria as illegal.
Abbas, who has been frustrated with the stalled peace talks, recently called on Palestinian Arabs to “liberate” the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem from Jews and their “filthy feet”.
On Thursday, Israel media reported that Abbas claimed to Israeli journalists that he tried to arrange a meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu two months ago, and was snubbed.
In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status at the UN from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state” despite strong opposition from Israel and the United States. The Palestinian flag was also raised for the first time at the UN headquarters in New York last September.