‘Palestinians ready to engage with Chinese to tell them our story’
Beijing needs allies to ward off US pressure, thus needs to win support of Muslim countries, says expert
Palestinians are ready to engage with the Chinese government and people to “tell them our story,” speakers and experts told an Istanbul conference on Saturday.
However, a formal engagement with Beijing also requires platforms and vibrant activism, they added.
“We are ready and willing to engage with Chinese lawmakers to explain our story,” said Sheikh Hamid Al-Ahmar, addressing the first international conference on China and the Palestinian cause.
Al-Ahmar is the president of the Association of Parliamentarians for Al-Quds.
He also said Palestinians need to “take into consideration China’s Belt and Road Initiative which requires pure environment without violence and support from everybody.”
“We can build on Pakistan’s relation with China to help Palestine,” he suggested.
“Parliamentarians for Al-Quds look forward to an invitation from the Chinese side to engage with them on Palestine,” he added.
Mousa Abu Marzook, the vice-president of the Palestinian group Hamas, said Palestinians have “ethical, most organized resistance which defends our people.”
“Latest battle for Al-Quds is another example of it,” he said.
Earlier this year in May, Israel launched fresh attacks on Gaza Strip, killing nearly 300 people, including women and children, and left behind a trail of destruction. Health centers and media offices, as well as schools, were among the structures targeted.
Calling Hamas a “main player” in the Palestinian conflict, Marzook said the group has a relationship with “many people in public as well as behind the cameras, we appreciate that gesture.”
He said Palestinians look to a multi-polar world “where we do not have to face wrongs done by the US,” warning China that its “relations with Israel may have short term benefits but it will harm in long term.”
“Roots of terrorism lie in Israel,” Marzook alleged.
“We have historic relations with China and want Beijing away from Israel (...) And we want to enhance bilateral relations with Beijing,” he added.
Referring to the withdrawal of US-led foreign forces from Afghanistan, Marzook said Beijing is going to “fill gap vacuum like this.”
He told Anadolu Agency that Hamas enjoyed the relationship with Chinese people in the past “but it has come down in past one decade because of growing Beijing-Israel relations and opposition by the Palestinian Authority to our relations with Beijing.”
“After the battle of Saif Al-Quds, they (Chinese) contacted us and we are going to make good relations with China,” he added, referring to the latest attacks by Israel against Gaza.
China would need allies in new Cold War era
Sami Al-Arian, Palestinian academic and activist, told the conference the US “will not allow China to yield influence,” referring to forming of new military alliances around China by Washington.
“The US is forming military alliances to besiege China,” he said, adding that Washington “does not allow any country to be neutral.”
“Australia wanted to remain neutral but was forced to choose between security and trade,” he said, referring to the recent AUKUS military pact among the US, UK, and Australia.
Al-Arian, who leads the Istanbul-based Center for Islam and Global Affairs think tank, said that the US has 11 military fleets, and “seven are rotating around the world while Beijing is now building Blue Water Navy to counter Washington.”
Keeping in view the situation which the US is creating around China, al-Arian said, “Beijing would need allies to ward off the pressure on China in new Cold War era.”
“Supporting the struggle of Palestine along the struggle of Kashmiris in their struggle against fascist India would endear China to the Muslim world and defeat the attempt (of the US) to isolate China. But China also needs to resolve the problem of the Uyghurs in a balanced and fair way to receive the support of the Muslim world and beyond,” said Al-Arian, who is also a public affairs professor at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University.
“China has to choose to side with people,” he added.
Referring to the economic cooperation of countries like Turkey, Pakistan, and Iran with China, al-Arian said: “This could turn into possible military alliances.”
“It is in the best interest of China to support Palestine and create dynamics in the region and change nature of the conflict,” he said.
Struggle for Pakistani homeland bedrock for support to Palestine
Mustafa Hyder Sayed, who leads Pakistan-China Institute, told the participants the unprecedented support for Palestine in Pakistan was “because the forefathers of the country themselves struggled for an independent state led by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.”
Dubbing the Palestinian conflict “a very black and white issue,” he said the issue was “not about Islam or religion but it is about humanity, human rights, right to life for next generation of Palestinians who do not know whether their children will survive.”
Sayed urged a formalized engagement by Palestinians with Beijing.
“There is no reason that China will not take a strong stand on Palestine, however, it requires coordinated efforts from countries that want to take it forward,” Sayed said, asking Palestinians to use the upcoming China-Arab summit for lobbying with Chinese people.
Gao Shangtao, the director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the China Foreign Affairs Ministry University, told the conference that China supports the two-state solution on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestine state.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.