Skip to content

China Alienates Israel: Picking Sides by Bloc, Not by Country-Level Relationship

Zhang Ping, a Chinese scholar living in Israel, posted a tweet on X about why China has chosen not to condemn Hamas, alienating Israel following the start of the Israel-Hamas war. China made this decision despite good relations between Israel and China in the past.

Zhang Ping said that the world’s nations are now bifurcating into two blocs: the China-Russia-Iran camp, and the opposing camp led by the U.S. and its allies (including Israel). This bloc-based logic is now guiding China’s strategy for international relations.

In the past, China’s modus operandi was something like “which camp you belong to doesn’t matter; what matters is whether our relationship is good.” Recently, however, China’s operating principle has changed to “our relationship does not matter; what matters is which camp you belong to.” According to Zhang Ping, this shift in attitude started during the Russia-Ukraine War and has further developed during the recent Israel-Hamas war. Both Israel and Ukraine had good relations with China in the past. However, once conflicts arose, China chose to use bloc membership as its guiding principle, being unwilling to support either Ukraine or Israel.

During the time of globalization prior to these recent wars, individual relationships between countries held more weight [in Beijing’s eyes] than did bloc allegiances. This enabled countries, including Israel and Australia, to engage with China despite their being U.S. allies. Both Israel and Australia provided strategic port access to the Chinese, with Israel even allowing China a certain amount of control over two of its largest strategic ports in Haifa and Ashdod. Now, however, China will not support these countries no matter how good their past relations have been, as they belong to the Western camp rather than the Chinese camp. Meanwhile, European nations relied on Russia for their energy needs in the past, whereas the West has unified against Russia following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Source: Twitter @pingzhang632, Oct 17, 2023