Unveiling China's Shadow Over the Israel-Hamas Conflict

Unveiling China's Shadow Over the Israel-Hamas Conflict - Beijing’s support for Israel's foes undermines any hope of attaining peace in the Middle East.

Unveiling China's Shadow Over the Israel-Hamas Conflict

Unveiling China's Shadow Over the Israel-Hamas Conflict

News Analysis

The tragic events in Israel and Gaza started by the Iranian-backed Hamas has unleashed a wave of terror reverberating around the globe. Given the historical support of Russia and Iran to groups and states targeting Israel, unanswered questions about outside involvement or links exist. Due to Chinese support for Iran and Russia, we should examine Chinese firms' links to key groups here.

Chinese military and security firms have a long history of working with Iran. Chinese telecom firms Huawei and ZTE built major portions of Iran’s internet and mobile telecom network as well as an internet monitoring and security apparatus for authorities.

A 2012 RAND paper noted the close working relationship between Iran and China, with everything from advanced weaponry, chemical and nuclear weapons assistance, trans-shipment to avoid U.S. sanctions, and even Chinese designs finding their way into Iranian weaponry.
A few years later, in 2017, the Trump administration sanctioned Iran and a China-based network "providing support to Syria and supplying items to further Iran's ballistic weapons program.”

More recently, the ending of the arms embargo prompted Iran to enter into multiple agreements with China across a range of sectors but highlighting military and weapons cooperation.

Since Hamas enjoys the full support and backing of Iran and Iran enjoys the full support and cooperation of China on security, weapons, and military programs, a clear link exists.

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China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi shakes hands with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a meeting at the Diaoyutai state guest house in Beijing, China, on Dec. 31, 2019. (Noel Celis-Pool/Getty Images)
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi shakes hands with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a meeting at the Diaoyutai state guest house in Beijing, China, on Dec. 31, 2019. (Noel Celis-Pool/Getty Images)
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However, Chinese involvement in anti-Israeli forces runs deeper. Chinese weapons appear with alarming frequency in the hands of terrorists and outlaw states in the Middle East.

A 2014 Syrian chemical weapons attack showed hardware with the name of the Chinese manufacturer Norinco, known as China North Industries Group, a state-owned defense company.
Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed group in Lebanon, obtained Chinese-made rockets or designed in China and manufactured in Iran that target Israel.
In 2017, the Trump administration charged a naturalized Lebanese-American citizen with traveling to China to meet with a Hezbollah handler where a Chinese company made explosives materials used in terror plots around the world, including Israel.
In 2014, analysts discovered Hamas fired Chinese-designed rockets into Israel, raising significant concern. The longer range of Chinese rockets put most of Israel within Hamas's range.

It is worth emphasizing that no official records of Chinese exports to Palestine and the Hamas-led government exist and that Palestinian rockets come from Syria, Iran, or local sources but rely heavily on Chinese designs.

Though Israel worked to develop close ties with China, even to the level of raising significant concern in Israel over Chinese asset purchases and military trade, concern in Israel stems from China’s close military ties with Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, and Hamas.

If China did not want its weapons designs launched against Israeli targets, it could restrict their use with little doubt. That it chooses not to and continues supplying weapons to Iran, Syria, and others, it should make clear its stance to Israel.

All this raises the larger question of how should the United States, and separately Israel, treat China within the unfolding of the Hamas-led war against?

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Israeli soldiers carry the body of a victim of a terrorist attack from Gaza at Kibbutz Kfar Aza, in southern Israel, on Oct. 10, 2023. (Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters)
Israeli soldiers carry the body of a victim of a terrorist attack from Gaza at Kibbutz Kfar Aza, in southern Israel, on Oct. 10, 2023. (Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters)
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First, China’s support of Iran and Syria, with the downstream links to Hezbollah and Hamas, excludes any notion of support for Israel. While China sought to cultivate Israeli trade and political ties, the continued military support of Iran and Syria raised concerns in Israel even as they allowed some close ties with China. Beijing’s military support for countries and group seeking to annihilate Israel demand greater scrutiny.

Second, Beijing supports not just enemies of Israel but enemies of free and open societies around the world. Israel, proud to display itself as a bastion of liberal democracy in a region surrounded by hardened authoritarians, must realize the broader conflict taking place not just for Jews and Israel but for democracy worldwide.

Third, just as Jews suffered through the Holocaust and repeated attacks from neighbors, including the current war, Israel risks its reputation and material support by collaborating with a country touting its concentration camps for Uyghurs as a model for the world.

Israel can maintain its moral high ground by making public its concern over Uyghur concentration camps and attach a tangible price to China’s continued policy of enslavement as well as prove its support for the human rights of Muslims.

The tragic slaughter of innocent Israelis has laid bare the barbarity of Hamas, Iran, and others seeking to wipe Jews and the state of Israel from history. Israel can no longer remain unconcerned about the support these groups receive from China and the threat it poses to Jews and free people everywhere. Just as Americans must not waiver in the face of barbaric behavior, Israel must remain steadfast in dealing with those who threaten Israel. We can no longer ignore this evil.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.