China's growing influence
By the Gazette Editorial Board
Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged a package of $20 billion in loans, and about $106 million in financial aid, to Middle East nations, as part of what he called an "oil and gas plus" model to revive economic growth in the region.
During the Eighth Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab States Co-operation Forum (CASCF) held in Beijing yesterday, President Xi announced the creation of a consortium of banks from China and the Arab countries with a dedicated fund of $3 billion.
The $3 billion in loans are part of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative suggested by President Xi in 2013 with the aim of reviving the Chinese trade routes linking China with Central Asia and the Arab world. These loans will fund many of the development projects in these countries to help them become part of the Belt and Road project.
Apart from this large amount of money being offered to promote industrial and economic development in various Arab countries, China has decided to offer aid worth $15 million to the Palestinian Authority, to support its economic development and $91 million in financial aid to Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.
With this generous offer of aid, China seems to be presenting its credentials as the newly-emerging political power that is ready to help settle many of the political disputes in which some countries of the Middle East are embroiled. It is true that China has chosen not to interfere in any of these conflicts outside the UN Security Council umbrella, but by offering aid to these countries, China means to help minimise the causes and consequences of the political and military dilemmas affecting our region today, especially the Palestinian Cause.
Addressing the Arab-Chinese meeting, President Xi urged all parties to respect the international consensus on the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, to ensure it would be handled in a just manner.
China has announced a policy of supporting all the UN resolutions that preserve Palestinians rights, and it has also presented a peace initiative to settle the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict based on the two-state solution. The Chinese initiative could be seen as a great alternative to the US "Ultimate Plan" that has been rejected by the Palestinians and various Arab parties.
Since Trump's announced recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the subsequent moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem, the Palestinians have been looking for an alternative to the US as peace mediator.
Trump has proved his blind bias in favour of Israel, not only by deciding to remove Jerusalem from the negotiating table, but also by being silent about the measures taken by Netanyahu’s government, to kill any chance of the Palestinians building their state on the territories occupied in 1967.
Herein emerges the significant role China and other powers such as Europe could play, in standing up for Palestinian rights and confronting the US-Israeli plot to liquidate the cause.
China's growing influence in the region and other parts of the world could be the start of the end of the present unipolar world system that is dominated by the US. Taking advantage of its special capabilities, China could have a positive effect on the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and many of the disputes that have left many Arab countries in disarray.