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Israel-Hamas war upends China's ambitions in the Middle East but may serve Beijing in the end
The Hamas attack on Israel has put China's ambitions in the Middle East to the test
WASHINGTON (AP) — In June, Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted the Palestinian president in Beijing and invited the Israeli prime minister for an official state visit. Benjamin Netanyahu accepted, and China was on track for a bigger role in the region.
Then came the Hamas attack against Israel, which has made Netanyahu’s late October trip uncertain and put Beijing's Middle East approach to the test. China’s stated neutrality on the war has upset Israel, but Beijing may gain in the long run by forging closer ties with Arab countries, experts said.
“For a while at least, Beijing’s Middle East policy is paralyzed by the war,” said Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Beijing-based Renmin University of China. “The U.S., which strongly supports Israel, is directly or indirectly involved. Who is there to listen to China?”
That hasn't stopped China from trying to be heard.