Leading Chinese mass media outlets and the majority of the Chinese population harshly condemned Israel’s incursion into Palestine and the attack on Yasser Arafat’s residence, but it is widely believed in China that Israel is to blame for the longstanding violence.
Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan had a telephone conversation with Shimon Peres (who just returned to Tel Aviv from Beijing). The Chinese foreign minister on Sunday urged the immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's residence and called for Arafat's personal safety to be ensured. China opposes and condemns the recent violent activities in Israeli territory, and China expresses condolence, sympathy, and solicitude to the family members of the victims, said Tang. Tang expressed his hope that Israel will implement Resolution 1402 of the United Nations Security Council unconditionally and withdraw its troops completely from Palestinian areas and solve the problems through peaceful means. Tang asked Israel to do so in order to serve the overall requirement of security and stability in the Middle East as well as Israel's own long-term interest.
The Chinese media not only estimated the current situation regarding Palestine and Israel; several authors tried to look deep into the matter in order to trace the history of the contradiction between Israel and Palestine, analysing the present drama on the ground of the question “Who is guilty?”
The article in the People’s Daily newspaper, titled “Tit-for-Tat Violence in the Middle East Will Get Nowhere,” condemns the suicidal Palestinian bombers, but it was said that Israel’s actions were of a tougher character: Israel was destroying buildings on the territory of the Palestinian autonomy, blockading the territory, and running a “cleansing” policy of the population. It was written in the article that the starting moment of the current clashes was the fact that Likud leader Ariel Sharon visited the Islamic holy site of Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, which triggered a new wave of Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. Furthermore, the author of the article stated that the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict lies in Israel's occupation of Arab land: “Israel, a military superpower in the Middle East with sophisticated weapons and well-trained troops, cannot strangle the wishes of Palestinians to win national dignity, independence, and self rule. It will get the Jewish state nowhere if it bases its fundamental policies on the use of military force.”
The People’s Daily writer believes that the only way out of the situation is to observe the adequate resolutions of the UN Security Council, following the principle “peace for land,” which was proclaimed at the Arab summit on March 28.
As the Chinese mass media believe, the current campaign of the Israeli army is an attempt to use the acts of terrorism of the suicidal Palestinian bombers as an excuse to destroy the Arab peace plan. The Beijing newspaper China Daily characterized Sharon as “a hawk” that was trying to settle the mutual relations with Palestinians with the help of an iron fist. “To be frank, the demands of the Palestinian people are not high and are fully understandable - to have a nation of their own and to have equal sovereignty and the same territorial integrity as other independent nations in the world. According to United Nations resolutions 242 and 338, a Jewish state and a Palestinian state should be established in coexistence on this holy land. However, Israel, with its superior economic and military strength and favoured by big powers, has, from the beginning, thwarted the establishment of a Palestinian state.” The Chinese journalist stressed: “We are not against the Jewish people, who are as peace-loving as other peoples elsewhere in the world, nor do we favor the Palestinians. We judge things by the criteria of justice and fairness. When having nowhere to turn, the Palestinians have no other choice but to take up arms and fight for their rights and self-respect. Sharon's harsh policy, whether it's out of party interests or individual propensity, obviously will only cause more nightmares for both the Israelis and the Palestinians.”
These points of view are shared by the majority of the world’s biggest nation. Judging by China Daily-led poll, 66.34% of its readers believe that Israel is responsible for the escalation of violence, whereas only 23.27% blame Palestine. Taking account of the fact that China Daily’s website has a lot of Western readers, some 75-80% of the Chinese people are on Palestine’s side.
Andrey Krushinsky PRAVDA.Ru Beijing
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov