Muslim-majority countries in Beijing for negotiations over Israel-Hamas crisis

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China invited leaders from Arab and Muslim countries to talk about calming down the fighting between Israel and Hamas. China wants to help stop the fighting.

The Foreign Minister of China met with officials from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, the Palestinian National Authority, Indonesia, and the head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in the capital on Monday.

Beijing said the visit is a chance for talking and working together to calm down the fighting between Palestinians and Israelis, protect people, and fairly solve the problem of Palestine.

The meeting is happening because the media has been told that there might be a deal soon to free some hostages held by Hamas. The United States, Israel, and Qatar have been talking to Hamas for weeks to try to make this deal happen.

Beijing and Washington, who are both strong in the region and friends with Israel, disagree on how to handle the conflict. Beijing did not support Israel’s actions and did not speak out against the group Hamas, making Israeli officials upset.

Israel has started bombing and sending troops into Gaza because a group called Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th. The Israel Defense Forces said that more than 200 people were taken as hostages in the attack.

China wants to help solve the conflict so it can become a stronger global power.

Last week, the UN made a decision about the fighting. They want all the people that Hamas is holding as prisoners to be set free right away. They also want to make sure that safe paths are available for people in the area so that they don’t get hurt. The US and the United Kingdom didn’t vote, because they didn’t agree with the resolution’s failure to criticize Hamas.

Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun said that for reasons everyone knows, especially because a permanent member of the Council kept causing problems, this resolution can only be a first step for now, based on the minimum agreement. This seemed like a hidden criticism aimed at the US.

The conflict has allowed China to strengthen its relationships with many Arab countries and to become an important advocate for creating a separate Palestine and achieving lasting peace.

Chinese and visiting officials will talk about how to start the peace process again when they meet in Beijing on Monday and Tuesday.

China’s special envoy for the Middle East, Zhai Jun, visited Egypt, Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan last month. He talked about important issues during his 10-day tour. This included discussing the Qatar issue.

Last week, the representative visited Turkey and Bahrain to meet with officials. In addition, Zhai talked about the situation in the region with representatives from Singapore, the US and Europe at a conference.

Zhai hasn’t visited Israel, Palestine, or Iran, according to the information from China’s Foreign Ministry. Last month, Wang and Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen talked on the phone. It’s not known if China has talked to Hamas leaders during the recent fighting.

This week, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki from the West Bank-based Palestinian National Authority is visiting officials in Beijing.

Earlier this month, China sent the leader of its Foreign Ministry’s department for West Asia and North Africa to Iran to talk about the conflict. This was mentioned in a post on the department’s WeChat social media account.

Iran has been supporting Hamas and Hezbollah for a long time.

Last week, Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden had a long conversation in California. Biden asked Xi to use China’s influence with Iran to prevent a bigger conflict in the region. This was said by a top US official to the media.

In the meeting, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said they have already talked to the Iranians about the topic.

The US thinks Hamas is a terrorist group that has caused pain for Palestinian people. The US supports Israel in fighting against Hamas.

Beijing is talking about the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, without mentioning Hamas.

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