China-Middle East summit told ‘Israel seeks to end Palestinians’ presence’

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki’s comments come at a Beijing meeting seeking solutions to end the war.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki addresses the UN Security Council [File: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters]

Israel seeks to end the Palestinian people’s presence on their “historical land,” Palestine’s foreign minister has said.

Riad Malki’s comments came as diplomats from Arab and Muslim-majority nations met their Chinese counterparts in Beijing on Monday.

Beijing is hosting a delegation of foreign ministers from the Palestinian Authority, Indonesia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan for talks aimed at finding a solution to end the war in the Gaza Strip.

The summit, during which China pledged to work to “restore peace in the Middle East,” is seen as part of a push by Beijing to step up its international role.

The Palestinian Authority’s Malki accused Israel of seeking to “bring to an end the Palestinian people’s presence on what remains of its historical land,” AFP reports.

A spokesperson for Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the displacement of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip will threaten peace, security and stability in the region and the world.

“Egypt is making every effort to bring aid into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing, but Israel’s policy of obstructing the entry of aid is a systematic policy aimed at pushing the Palestinians to leave the strip under the weight of bombing and siege,” the spokesperson said.

China, the host of the summit, has historically been sympathetic to the Palestinians. Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the visiting diplomats that his country could see that “a humanitarian disaster is unfolding in Gaza” and that it must be stopped.

“The situation in Gaza affects all countries around the world, questioning the human sense of right and wrong and humanity’s bottom line,” he said, before urging the international community to “act urgently” to prevent the war from spreading.

Following the outbreak of the war last month, Wang reportedly told his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in a phone call that “Israel’s actions have gone beyond self-defence”.

Wang and other Chinese officials called for an immediate ceasefire and a “cooling down” of the situation.

Power vacuum

Beijing has repeatedly called for a two-state solution to end the war, which has now killed more than 13,000 Palestinian people in Gaza and some 1,200 in Israel.

Beijing’s Middle East envoy Zhai Jun visited the region last month seeking a solution to end the war and has been in talks with Russia to work together to help Israel and Palestine reach a two-state solution.

At the summit, Wang highlighted again that Beijing is “a good friend and brother of Arab and Muslim countries”.

“China firmly stands with justice and fairness in this conflict,” he said.

“We are willing to work together with our brothers and sisters in Arab and Islamic countries to make unremitting efforts to settle the war in Gaza as soon as possible,” he added.

The meetings are a sign that China is stepping up its international role by filling a power vacuum left by the US, according to political analyst Ibrahim Fraihat.

“The US has shot itself in the foot by throwing all of its weight behind Israel’s side and by doing so, it has diminished its role as a credible third party intervener,” Fraihat, of the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, told Al Jazeera.

“They [Chinese authorities] are very interested in this role – they have strong ties with Israel, they have the trust of the Palestinians and weight in the international system,” he added, referring to China’s veto power at the UN Security Council.

Source: News Agencies