Chinese media have reported Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s current visit as secondary news, reflecting China’s distance from the Israeli-Palestinian Authority issue.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is also in China, and his visit has gained slightly more attention than Netanyahu’s.
The Prime Minister’s main mission is economic, and Israel’s trump card in any political dealings between Beijing and Ramallah is Israel’s capacity for helping China in the fields of agriculture and high technology.
The Chinese news agency Xinhua reported a seven-paragraph blurb on Netanyahu’s first day in the country, with most of the report referring to his scheduled tour of the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum. The site illustrates Shanghai’s providing a safe heaven for approximately 30,000 Jewish refugees from the Nazi Holocaust.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has not brought up the matter of Syria in his visit and is not likely to talk about considering China’s objections to foreign intervention and its condemnation Sunday of Israel’s bombing of Iranian missiles in Syria that were headed for Hezbollah.
Abbas is trying to convince China to be more vocal in his bid for declaring the Palestinian Authority an independent country based on his own definitions while ditching a negotiated agreement with Israel.
However, China has little to gain from joining Abbas’ worldwide campaign for support and has a lot more to gain from Israel’s technology.
China Central television gave Abbas more coverage than Netanyahu, and Chinese President Xi Jinping presented a four-point proposal for Palestinian Authority.
The People’s Daily featured a photo of Abbas and the Chinese president shaking hands, and the caption read, “China firmly supports the just cause of the Palestinian people.”
However, experts in China doubt that Abbas will receive much more than headlines.
Prof Yin Gang, associated with a Chinese Academy of Social Sciences state-run think-tank, said Beijing is “very unlikely” to playa significant part in the deadlock between Jerusalem and Ramallah, according to the South China Morning Post.
Li Shaoxian, a Middle East expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, a state security ministry-affiliated think-tank, told China Daily that China can “hardly match” Washington’s role in the Middle East.