PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY President Mahmoud Abbas (second left) meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing yesterday.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said he believes China is prepared to contribute to advancing the peace process.
“I was honored to meet the Chinese President [Xi Jinping] yesterday... I noticed his great interest in what is happening in the region and his preparedness to play a positive role to push the peace process forward,” Abbas said in a speech at the Chinese Academy of Governance in Beijing.
Abbas arrived in China on Tuesday for a four-day state visit, at the invitation of Xi.
Abbas praised China’s fourpoint plan to resolve the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, and said the Palestinians are ready to coordinate with Beijing to implement it.
The plan, which dates back to 2013, calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the basis of 1967 lines, respect for Israel’s right to exist and security concerns, halting settlement activities and violence against civilians, and international guarantees to advance the peace process.
Abbas also said he supports holding trilateral Chinese-Israeli- Palestinian meetings to move the peace process forward.
“We are in favor of holding three-way political seminars in China in order to dialogue, clarify positions, and back peacemaking efforts... and implementing plans on the ground,” Abbas said.
China has never played a direct mediating role in the Middle East peace process, but has expressed willingness to host Israel and the Palestinians.
In 2013, China hosted both Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the same week, and offered to hold a dialogue between the two leaders, if they were interested. No dialogue ultimately took place.
Turning to economic cooperation, Abbas said that the Chinese leader agreed to send a technical delegation to study the establishment of an industrial zone in Tarkumiya, near Hebron.
According to Abbas Zaki, a Fatah official in charge of managing relations between China and the Palestinians, Abbas hopes the Chinese will agree to invest in the industrial zone, which is located adjacent to the Green Line.
Abbas’s visit to China comes four months after Netanyahu visited the country.
During his visit, Netanyahu and his accompanying delegation signed a dozen bilateral agreements with China to enhance cooperation on technology and innovation “I believe this is a marriage made in heaven,” Netanyahu said of Chinese-Israeli relations at the time.
Zaki said he is aware of Israel’s and China’s ties, but emphasized that China will not fully engage with Israel until a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is reached.
“We know that China has interests in Israel, but it also has values and will not turn its back on Palestinian rights,” Zaki told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Monday. “It does not only operate according to economic interests – China is a gift of God.”