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After successfully negotiating a rapprochement between former enemies, Iran and Saudi Arabia at the beginning of the year, China has decided it's ready to attempt to broker a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine after several clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police in the West Bank and Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque in recent weeks.
On Monday, China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang said that Beijing is prepared and willing to "play a conservative role" in encouraging peace in the area. Qin also said that he is "very concerned" over increasing tensions and violence, which have included intermittent flare-ups of rocket fire from Gaza, which have been met with Israeli airstrikes.
During earlier clashes this month at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released a statement saying, "We call on all parties, Israel in particular, to show calm and restraint and immediately stop ll words and deeds that might heighten tensions." The statement came after videos surfaced on social media showing police beating Muslim worshipers inside the mosque after refusing to leave and ignoring a strict curfew at the Temple Mount.
Qin's Monday remarks were made during a phone call with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen. It was the first such call since Qin took office. During the call, the minister urged Israel and Palestinian authorities to engage in peace talks as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, according to a statement by Cohen Israel is still on edge regarding the new alliance between Tehran and Riyadh saying, "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 prevent the Ayatollah regime in Tehran from obtaining nuclear capabilities."
Israeli authorities have continued to be concerned about the pressure and spotlight being taken off of Iranian misconduct in the area as a result of the rapprochement, which could become a security threat to Israel.
While the Biden administration seems to have welcomed the China-backed Iranian-Saudi peace agreement, many have seen it as a sign of China's global influence as U.S. influence fades on the world stage.
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