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Israel Should Reassess Its Relations with China

Efraim Inbar
Asia Times, Aug, 3, 2023

“It is undesirable to exacerbate tensions with the US over a non-existential issue for the State of Israel.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced plans to travel to China, which has been encouraging such a visit. Netanyahu was responsible for expanding bilateral relations and helped open the hefty Chinese market for imports from Israel.

A powerhouse in the international arena, China today desires a higher profile in the Middle East and is particularly interested in Israeli technology.

While the visit is now in doubt because of Netanyahu’s health issues, it is time to reassess Jerusalem’s ties with Beijing. Although China is a vast market, it is also a rival of the United States.

The main characteristic of the contemporary international arena is the competition between the US and China. It is hard to imagine that Israel will not stand with the US in this struggle between the leader of the democratic world and a dictatorial ascending power. Firm support for the US, the State of Israel’s most important ally, requires Israel to show some reservation toward China.

Moreover, Beijing is highly unlikely to replace Washington as a strategic ally.

It is noteworthy that the US and European countries are moving toward reducing political and economic relations with China. There are efforts to minimize imports from China, especially products where dependence on China becomes a national-security problem.

Measures are also being taken to reduce investments from China. The West is increasingly alert to preventing Chinese industrial and technological espionage. Israel is also going in this direction, mainly due to pressure from Washington.

Therefore, it is advisable to reconsider the trip to China. First, it is seen by many as defiance against US President Joe Biden, who has yet to send an invitation to Netanyahu to visit the White House – eight months after becoming prime minister again. The Biden administration disagrees with the Israeli government on a number of issues, especially on Iran, settlements, and legal reform.

… [To read the full article, click here]

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