A prominent figure linked to the Chinese government is advising Israel not to rely exclusively on the United States. Professor Victor Gao, known as an unofficial spokesman for China, told Kan News that Israel would be wise not to put all its eggs in one basket.
Gao stressed in a TV interview that China is an economic and political superpower. He also noted that the US has not been able to bring peace to the Middle East.
Gao suggested that Israel should consider a new peace initiative, suggesting that China can facilitate an Israeli-Palestinian deal. A Chinese effort to muscle in on this front will likely not be welcomed by Washington.
Gao also revealed that Beijing intends to boost its regional involvement. He said that the recent China-brokered reconciliation deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia is the first step ahead of more Chinese initiatives, adding that Israel should not stand in the way of the agreement.
US keeps eye on Chinese projects
The US has been deeply concerned about Chinese involvement in strategic infrastructure projects in Israel. US officials view this as a potential threat to American security and geopolitical interests in the region.
Among other things, the US fears that Beijing could gain access to sensitive data, technology, and intelligence on both Israeli and US actions. Notably, a Chinese company won a tender to operate a new terminal at the Haifa port, where American warships sometimes dock.
Meanwhile, officials in Jerusalem were troubled by reports about a mega-deal between China and Iran in 2021.
Israel has been facing growing American pressure to limit Chinese involvement in infrastructure projects. Washington also urged Israel to screen investments from China, and to keep Chinese companies away from sensitive technology and information.
Israel has taken US concerns seriously and took some steps to change the equation. A study by the INSS think tank showed that Chinese investments in Israel are declining.
However, as the world enters a turbulent era and as US-China tensions escalate, the Mideast will again become an arena of superpower competition. Beijing is already signaling to Jerusalem that China has the potential to become a key player in the region and change the rules of the game.