On the second of December this year the Chinese representative to the United Nations General Assembly addressed the meeting on the topic of Palestine and more particularly on his country’s view of the ongoing disasters that daily inflict the Palestinians in that country. Unsurprisingly, the speech received no coverage in the Australian media. The continued support by the Australian government for Israel in that Assembly, typically with the votes of the United States, Canada, Israel and some pocket handkerchief sized neo-colonies in the Pacific, is one of the great unreported matters of Australian “diplomacy”.
The attitude of the Beijing government is to place the Palestinian cause “at the heart of the Middle East situation.” The Chinese vote in the United Nations in support of the Palestinian cause (along with the vast majority of member states) reflected the earlier statement on 1 December 2020 of Chinese president Xi Jinping. Speaking on that date in support of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, Xi reiterated China’s firm support for the “just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights.” Those are words one would not expect to hear from an Australian politician, and particularly its present Prime Minister who has uniquely managed to put Australia-China relations in their worst position since Australia recognised the PRC Government in 1972.
Australia pays lip service to the notion of a two-state solution to the Palestine-Israeli issue, but effectively does nothing to promote it. Indeed, Australia has continued its unquestioning support for the Israeli position, as reflected in its United Nations General Assembly votes over many years, and in effect dismisses the Palestinians as a people without a legitimate argument. The refusal of the Australian mainstream media to even report the voting pattern of its government speaks volumes for the true stance of the politicians and the media.
By contrast, the Chinese government insists that “the two-state solution is a bottom line of international justice.” The latest Chinese statement went even further, saying that there was “no going back on the tide of history.” The two-state solution, the Chinese statement added, was “the basis for solving the Palestinian question, and should be duly observed and implemented”.
China’s position is unequivocal, as was also spelled-out in Xi’s message commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people on first December in which he referred to the “legitimate national rights” of the Palestinian people. Xi commended the Palestinians for their efforts in endeavouring to create a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian issue.
The Chinese United Nations statement went further. It referred to the two-state solution as being the “bottom line” of international justice. It went on to refer to the relevant United Nations resolutions as “important parameters” in the Middle East peace process and it called on an early solution to the problems associated with the border dispute, and went further in calling for further peace talks and to refrain from any action that might fuel the tensions.
The Chinese statement is important for a number of reasons. It marks an ever-increasing Chinese role in the Middle East, sparked in part by the continuing expansion of its Belt and Road Initiative. That initiative is seen in marked contradiction to the blatantly lawless killing of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakrizadeh, the most likely perpetrator being the Israelis, and certainly with the support of the United States. That killing was met with widespread condemnation throughout the region, including from countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman who are not normally aligned with Iran on any issues.
The widespread condemnation of the Fakrizadeh murder also served to highlight the major difference between the Chinese and United States views of the Middle East. In the post-World War II period the United States has mounted multiple attacks upon countries in the greater region, from North Africa to many points south and east. None of those interventions have proven successful, and indeed they represent instead an increasingly clumsy level of intervention that has invariably turned those nations against the United States.
Even the dubious vows of Donald Trump to vacate many countries in the region have to be taken with a grain of salt. The withdrawal of United States troops is not widely accepted within the US military establishment. Afghanistan is a classic example. Trump has vowed to end the United States military intervention there, but even if that were true, it does not mean the end of United States involvement. There are, in fact, more private military contractors in Afghanistan than regular United States troops. Their fate remains unmentioned. Similarly, with the highly lucrative CIA control of the poppy fields and its attendant heroin production. It is a major source of CIA clandestine funding and the total absence on the fate of the crop from US discussions is deeply suspicious.
Again, in stark contrast to the Chinese mode of action, the United States is currently trying to create yet another military alliance, this time linking Japan, India and Australia with the United States. It is another blatantly anti-China exercise. It seems likely that only Australia will persist with this folly. Japan is steadily increasing its economic links to China, and India, notwithstanding some border issues with China, is nonetheless a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
Only Australia, as evidenced by its recent economically suicidal behaviour toward China, is likely to succumb to the Americans. There are no prizes for guessing how that will be interpreted in Beijing. Australia seems increasingly destined to fulfil Lee Kuan Yew’s forecast of it becoming the “poor white trash” of Asia. Certainly, the present government, and the Labor opposition, shows no insight whatsoever into the perilous state they are placing the Australian economy by their mindless pursuit of American goodwill.
As Tony Kevin pointed out in a recent article, “Australia sabotaged its own interests in China relations” (8 December 2020) there were early signs of a determination to cripple Australia – Chinese engagement, and they have now seemingly won. The consequences of this monumental stupidity are already apparent with over $100 million of Australian exports to China already lost.
Meanwhile China, which until recently took almost 40% of Australia’s exports, is progressively extending its influence through an increasingly large number of countries, including formally staunch United States allies such as Saudi Arabia. The Chinese philosophy, despite western efforts to deprecate it, remains what Xi called win-win.
It is clearly a winning policy. Countries like Australia, which are turning their backs on the Chinese, risk being left in the dustbins of history.
This post was originally published on Radio Free.