Israel’s Concerns Over China Deal With Iran, Saudi Arabia

Sunday, March 12, 2023 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , ,

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

BEIJING/JERUSALEM (Worthy News) – China has effectively denied anti-Israeli sentiments in brokering Friday’s peace talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia after Israel expressed concern about the developments.

A spokesperson from the country’s Foreign Ministry said Saturday that China “pursues no selfish interest whatsoever in the Middle East.”

“We respect the stature of Middle East countries as the masters of the region and oppose geopolitical competition in the Middle East,” the foreign ministry added. “China has no intention to and will not seek to fill [a] so-called vacuum or put up exclusive blocks.”

Friday’s agreement to reestablish Iran-Saudi ties and reopen embassies after seven years of rupture was seen as a significant diplomatic victory for China.

Beijing’s diplomatic move came as Gulf Arab states reportedly perceived the United States as reducing its presence and influence in the Middle East.

However, the deal dealt a blow to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has made the perceived threat posed by Tehran a policy priority.

Since returning to office late last year, Netanyahu and his allies have hinted that a deal with Saudi Arabia could be approaching.


However, Saudi Arabia also asked the United States to help develop its civilian nuclear program in exchange for a peace deal with Israel, Worthy News reported earlier.

And in another sign of tensions overshadowing Israel’s hopes for a peace deal, Israeli Muslims invited to a United Nations tourism event to honor their picturesque mountain village were unexpectedly blocked from attending by host Saudi Arabia, Bloomberg news agency reported Sunday.

The reported incident came despite an appeal from the United Nations for “equal treatment for member states” and the Saudis spending billions to become a significant player in the tourism industry.

Experts now believe the announced Saudi-Iran deal further undermines Israel’s peace ambitions. Danny Danon, a Netanyahu ally and former Israeli ambassador to the U.N. who recently predicted a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia in 2023, seemed disappointed. “This is not supporting our efforts,” he said in published remarks.

The Israeli government has expressed concerns about Iran’s nuclear program and the Islamic republic’s ties to Islamic terror groups.

Yet in countries such as Yemen and Syria, long caught between the Sunni kingdom and Iran, the announcement stirred cautious optimism.

The announcement seemed part of efforts by China’s re-elected leader Xi Jinping to increase his communist-run nation’s political and economic footprint in the volatile Middle East.

China earlier hosted Iran’s hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi last month to consolidate ties between the two countries. Beijing is also a top purchaser of Saudi oil. Xi visited Riyadh in December for meetings with oil-rich Gulf Arab nations crucial to China’s energy supplies.

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