The Chinese government is attempting to frame the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a way that faults the U.S. and its Western allies, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
Gaza-based Islamist militant group Hamas last Saturday launched a surprise attack that was the deadliest Palestinian militant assault on Israel in history. Israel subsequently launched its heaviest and deadliest airstrikes ever on Gaza.
As of Friday, at least 1,300 people had been killed in Israel, the Associated Press (AP) reported, citing the Israeli government. Over 1,800 had been killed in Gaza, according to authorities there, AP said.
China has faced criticism for refusing to condemn Hamas. The U.S. and most of its Western allies have strongly denounced the militant group while firmly supporting the Israeli government.
A report released on Friday by ISW, a U.S-based think tank, says that China has accused the U.S. and its European allies of offering “biased” support for Israel, calling it an attempt to “delegitimize the United States as a responsible regional actor.”
An article published Wednesday in the Global Times, an English-language publication controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), argues that “one-sided support for Israel” by the U.S. is “unjust and unreasonable to Palestine.”
“This narrative places the blame for the current instability in the Middle East on the West,” the ISW report says. “This aligns with the CCP’s messaging during Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine which blamed the United States and NATO expansion for instigating the crisis.”
ISW went on to criticize the Chinese government for pushing “a two-state solution amid the war,” arguing that the CCP was “portraying itself as an ostensible neutral broker” and that there were “similarities in CCP-propagated narratives between Ukraine and Israel.”
In response to a request for comment, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Washington, D.C., pointed Newsweek to a Friday press conference by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin.
Wang argued that “China has always been on the side of equity and justice” in response to a question on the U.S. being “disappointed” in China’s remarks on the conflict in Israel.
“We oppose acts that harm civilians and violate international law,” said Wang. “We are committed to promoting peace talks and achieving a ceasefire and will continue to work for deescalation and resumption of peace talks.”
“In viewing and handling our relations with the U.S., we have always observed the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation proposed by President Xi Jinping,” he added.
As the Palestinian and Israeli death tolls mount, President Joe Biden‘s government and many of its Western allies have been unequivocal in offering support for Israel and condemnation for Hamas, Hezbollah and the other Islamist militant groups fighting the Middle Eastern country.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that there were “not two sides” to the conflict during a press conference earlier this week, while condemning what she said were “repugnant” suggestions that the U.S. should not fund Israel’s war effort by members of the group of progressive lawmakers known as “The Squad,” such as Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
Some Squad members have suggested that Israel is poised to violate international law and commit a war crime in retaliation for the Hamas attack. Representative Cori Bush expressed concerns in a Friday post to X, formerly Twitter, over Israel’s order for 1.1 million Palestinians to evacuate northern Gaza within 24 hours, calling it an “impossible task.”