Coming off its success in getting archrivals Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties, China is now trying its hand at Israel-Palestine peace, after weeks of sporadic clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police in the West Bank and Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque.
China's foreign minister Qin Gang on Monday said Beijing is ready and willing to "play a constructive role" in promoting peace in the region. He also said he is "very concerned" over ratcheting tensions and violence, also after recent brief flare-ups of rocket fire from Gaza and Israeli return airstrikes.
During prior clashes at al-Aqsa this month, the Chinese foreign ministry issued a statement saying, "We call on all parties, Israel in particular, to show calm and restraint and immediately stop all words and deeds that might heighten tensions." This followed viral video showing police beating Muslim worshipers inside the mosque for defying a strict curfew at the Temple Mount.
Qin Gang's Monday statements were conveyed in a phone call to Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, the first such call since the Chinese FM took office. The Israelis and Palestinian Authority were urged to resume peace talks as soon as possible in the call.
As for the Israeli side, it's still nervous over Iran-Saudi rapprochement:
"I spoke with the Chinese Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, about the danger we see in the Iranian nuclear program, a danger that is shared by many countries in the region, including countries that have diplomatic relations with Iran. The international community must act immediately to To prevent the Ayatollah regime in Tehran from obtaining nuclear capabilities," Cohen said, according to the foreign ministry's statement.
The Israelis have been chiefly concerned that the pressure and spotlight will be taken off of Iranian malfeasance in the region, which could in turn be a threat to Israel's security.
As Reuters points out, after Washington spent decades trying to find a solution to the conflict, there's been no progress. "U.S.-brokered peace talks aimed at establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza -territories Israel captured in a 1967 war - have stalled for almost a decade and show no sign of revival," Reuters writes.
Some have seen China's recent efforts at stronger diplomacy in the Middle East as a sign of waning US influence; however, the Biden administration has said it welcomes opportunities to forge greater peace and stability.