Chinese Foreign Minister Offers to Mediate Israel-Palestine Peace Talks

Chinese Foreign Minister Offers to Mediate Israel-Palestine Peace Talks

The Lede: The Chinese foreign minister has offered his Israeli and Palestinian counterparts help to facilitate peace talks in Beijing’s latest push for regional mediation.

What We Know:

  • Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang spoke to both Eli Cohen and Riyad Al-Maliki, the top Israeli and Palestinian diplomats, on separate phone calls. In both cases, Qin offered Beijing’s support for the resumption of peace talks.
  • In both calls, Qin emphasized China’s support for the implementation of a “two-state solution.”
  • Cohen expressed Israel’s commitment to reducing tensions but said that the problem was unlikely to be resolved in the short term. Rather than mentioning the peace talks with Palestinians, he spoke about calming the tensions at the Temple Mount and the threat of Iran’s nuclear program.

The Background: These talks come at a time of heightened tensions in Israel due to clashes at the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.  Israel-Palestine peace talks have not taken place in over a decade. In March 2023, China brokered a deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran to restore diplomatic ties, which triggered peace talks in Yemen by extension. A month before that, China produced a peace plan for Ukraine.

Likely Outcomes:

  • Beijing likely sees this as another notch on its belt in initiating paths to peace in areas deeply entrenched in conflict. While the Saudi Arabia-Iran peace ended successfully, the Ukraine peace proposal has not come to fruition and this latest proposal remains doubtful. China likely intends to initiate peace talks in perhaps the most tangled conflict in the world and reap the accolades no matter the results.
  • Israel remains closely aligned with the U.S. on foreign and security matters. While China has made attempts at increasing economic ties with Israel, their U.S. ties have prevailed. Where the Gulf region holds the potential for energy cooperation, Israel and Palestine offer few big-ticket trade and business deals for Beijing. From this perspective, China does not have much room to gain economic advantages from engaging in the Israel-Palestine issue.
  • The U.S. brokered its own Israel peace agreement with the Abraham Accords, which did not make progress on the Palestinian issue. Initiating talks on the issue, especially if China leverages warming relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran to elevate talks at the regional level, could potentially expose weakness in U.S. policy in the Middle East.
  • China’s support for the implementation of a two-state solution runs up against the same problem that has long hindered this avenue to peace. Not only does the ruling government of Israel oppose the formation of a Palestinian state, but the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank continues at an accelerated pace. Like peace brokers that have made the attempt before, China will most likely fail to overcome the deep-seated convictions of both sides.


“[China is] concerned about the current tension between Israel and Palestine, and the current top priority is to bring the situation under control and prevent the conflict from escalating or even getting out of control.” - Quin Gang, Foreign Minister of China

“The danger [Israel] sees in the Iranian nuclear program — a danger that is shared by many countries in the region, including countries that have diplomatic relations with Iran.” - Eli Cohen, Foreign Minister of Israel

Good Reads:

China ready to broker Israel-Palestine peace talks, says foreign minister (The Guardian)

Chinese FM tells Israeli, PA counterparts Beijing’s ready to facilitate peace talks (Times of Israel)

How the Abraham Accords Disrupted China-Israel Relations (The Diplomat)